When it comes to Disney Channel Original Movies and the order of their release, the next one in line should be The Color of Friendship. I reviewed that movie last year and you can read it here. It was powerful, well-acted, and left audiences with something to talk about. As I have said before, Disney Channel and consistency don’t always go hand in hand. Alley Cats Strike! is a huge step-down. A supposed riveting dramatic comedy, that is not very funny, overdramatic, and not very riveting.
The story is about Alex and his friends who enjoy listening to swing music and bowling. What they don’t like is going with the flow and popularity. They follow their own rules and especially don’t like all-star athlete Todd. Every year one school named East Appleton faces off against West Appleton to win a big trophy. They do this by competing in sports. This year the competition ended up in a tie with bowling being the tiebreaker. Now, Todd must work with Alex and his friends to represent the town.
This was one I watched as a kid and remember loving. Watching it now, almost nothing works. The biggest issue is the movie doesn’t feel genuine. From the acting to the message, everything doesn’t feel right.
For starters, Alex and his friends are supposed to be misunderstood outsiders who hate all popular things. Why are they misunderstood or so angry? The movie doesn’t show us or tell us honestly. It comes off as if they don’t like people or things just for the sake of the script to move along.
Alex’s friends are pretty forgettable. They don’t have too much of a personality. They just whine and complain a lot and say multiple times how they love bowling. It was fun to see a young Kaley Cuoco playing one of the friends, but like I said, she doesn’t do anything. Tim Reid is the mayor of the town as well as Todd’s father. He is enjoyable but not in the movie enough.
The one whom the movie wants us to root against at least in the beginning is all-star athlete Todd. He is easily the best part of the movie. Sure, he comes in cocky and ready to take over the bowling team thinking it is going to be a walk in the park. But, he is the only one in this movie who has an arc. Over time he begins to understand how important bowling is to the group and lets go of his ego to help them.
It is understandable that the group doesn’t want things to change but did I mention that Alex’s dad owns the bowling alley and it is about to close down soon due to a lack of interest? Todd uses his popularity to help bring business to the bowling alley while also working hard to win the trophy. Alex and his friends still give him a hard time. Selfish pricks. Your father is about to lose his business and all you care about is yourselves. It makes it very hard to like our main characters.
The other weak thing is the writing. Nothing is funny, clever, or sincere. It seems that the writers didn’t have a clear idea of how teens spoke or acted. What makes a person cool or popular in this world? Sunglasses. That is all. Sunglasses indoors to be exact.
The shots of the bowling sequences just aren’t very exciting. They are shot at many different angles and you can tell they tried to make things look lively but it just doesn’t work. We see many shots of strikes and spares and it becomes tiresome quickly.
Alley Cats Strike isn’t the worst Disney Channel Original Movie. It isn’t insulting or harmful. The problem is it comes and goes without ever leaving a mark. The acting isn’t great, the characters are paper thin and the stakes are minimal. For the people who have never seen a Disney Channel Movie, this is probably what they expect. Something corny with little to no substance. It’s a shame because there are some good DCOMs out there. Unfortunately, Alley Cats Strike is far from a strike.