The Cheetah Girls 1 & 2
The Cheetah Girls (January 13/05)
Admittedly, I am absolutely the last person who should be reviewing The Cheetah Girls. The film has been unapologetically crafted to appeal solely to young girls, with absolutely no thought as to keeping other viewers entertained. On that level, then, The Cheetah Girls clearly works. The plot involves a foursome of teenagers who are on the verge of taking their band to the next level, but soon discover that fame and fortune has its consequences. Every character learns some sort of a lessen before the end credits roll - ie it's important not to be ashamed of one's family, friends are more important than fame, etc - while the viewer is subjected to several "songs" by these girls, each more insipid and mind-numbing than the last. Star Raven possesses a certain amount of charisma, but Tom Hanks himself would be hard-pressed to inject life into this cliched, formulaic storyline.
The Cheetah Girls 2
Though it's slightly better than its predecessor, The Cheetah Girls 2 is nevertheless an interminable piece of fluff that holds absolutely no appeal for viewers outside the film's target demographic of teenaged girls (undiscriminating teenaged girls, at that). This time around, the Cheetah Girls - Galleria (Raven), Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Sabrina (Dorinda), and Aqua (Kiely Williams - head to Spain to participate in a talent competition and subsequently find themselves drawn into individual crises (ie Chanel must cope with the presence of a new man in her mother's life). And, as was the case in the original, a short-lived break-up ensues after Galleria becomes frustrated with the lack of commitment among her band mates. Director Kenny Ortega - who also helmed the equally insufferable High School Musical - admittedly infuses The Cheetah Girls 2 with a bright and vibrant sense of style, ensuring that the film's many musical numbers possess a certain amount of energy (at the very least). But the whole thing is far too silly and predictable to hold the interest of most rational viewers, with the 100 minute running time (!) only exacerbating the movie's various problems.