Radio Rebel (2012)

dir. Peter Howitt

Radio Rebel follows the story of shy young student Tara (Debby Ryan), who secretly runs an online radio show as Radio Rebel, using her persona to enthuse and inspire the local teenage masses. It is difficult to fathom how Radio Rebel has earned such a devoted following, seeing as Tara herself is so awkward and idiotic that she’s regularly rendered incapable of basic human abilities such as writing, walking or talking. Debby Ryan also sees fit to pull bizarrely contorted, gormless faces in lieu of her character doing anything useful. Of course, her ostensible charms win over the resident bland heartthrob. Of course, they also catch the ire of the school mean girl. Of course, there are two creepy dorks with rhyming names running around achieving nothing, constituting the movie’s attempt at comic relief. As Radio Rebel’s popularity goes to her head and she behaves ever more erratically, her antics result in prom being cancelled. Oh no! But it’s okay, because prom still happens, with all its requisite funding, chaperones and traditions – it’s just called “Morp” now instead. Oh good. Taking the same old thing that’s been done a thousand times before and trying to pass it off as something entirely different is fundamentally what Radio Rebel is all about.

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