You never know what you are going to get with a Disney Channel Original Movie. Sometimes you get a silly, zany, juvenile romp. Sometimes you get some tough issues that are handled with more care. You have something like Can of Worms which I feel should probably not be watched by anyone, but you can still tell it was made for kids. Something like Johnny Tsunami has more weight to it and can be engrossing for both kids and adults. And then you have this…
Horse Sense is a story about a rich spoiled college brat named Michael who usually gets everything that he wants. When his cousin Tommy comes to visit from Montana. Michael is expected to show his cousin a good time but instead abandons him and ignores him the whole time. As punishment, Michael is sent to spend time in Montana with his cousin and learn about hard work and responsibility. Will Michael become a better person?
Horse Sense does things pretty by the book with a story we have all seen before. There aren’t too many surprises here but for the most part, it does everything it is set out to do pretty well.
The Acting and What Works
Joey Lawrence plays Michael. He plays the spoiled brat very well but never does too much and his character is unlikable. You still root for him to learn and change for the better. Andy Lawrence plays Tommy. He does a good job and you believe him as this hard-working kid who is doing what he can to save his family’s ranch. Michael and Tommy have great chemistry and it helps a lot that they are brothers in real life.
The cinematography is beyond beautiful. When Michael is in the city everything is so busy compared to when he is on the ranch learning. The setting in itself is a character. We get to see the sunsets and hills that Michael sees. We realize how beautiful the small things can be alongside Michael.
Who is This Movie For?
The cast is good, the pacing is fine and the tone is consistent. The only real problem is that this movie might be too adult at times. There aren’t any cursing or sexual situations. What I mean is that the topics discussed throughout may not be too interesting for what is usually Disney Channel’s main audience.
There are plenty of discussions about the race track and betting. Discussions about Tommy’s father who had passed away are done very adult-like. There is nothing wrong with discussing death with children. It is a part of life. The problem here is it almost seems too subtle. If you are going to discuss something discuss it. Here it is pushed to the side too quickly that it just might go over some children’s heads. If that is the case it almost seems like what’s the point.
What we do find out is that because of Tommy’s father’s death, money has been tight and the ranch is in danger. The last act and climax have a lot to do with saving the ranch and how to get a land trust. I honestly had no idea what a land trust even was. I still don’t fully understand the concept and am unsure if youngsters would appreciate or be invested in this.
Horse Sense is a good film. It is honestly one of the better Disney Channel films. I asked around if people remembered this movie and what they thought about it. The main answers I got were that people either didn’t remember it or they thought it was boring as a kid.
The movie is well shot, the script is good and it had me invested all the way through. I was very interested to see how each character traveled through their arcs. I almost wonder though if it would have been better on another channel. Kids could watch this for sure but there isn’t too much for them here. There aren’t any wacky, fast-paced action scenes or any silly voiced characters. There are many discussions and more quiet moments. It’s a movie about a family that might only entertain certain people in the family.