Directed by: Paul Hoen
Written by: Dan Berendsen, Nisha Ganatra, Jen Small
Starring: Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, Sabrina Bryan
Milking popular intellectual properties until they lose all of its positive aspects seems to be a calling card for Disney and they somehow managed to do it again with this lovely group of girls. While stripping away what made them special and having a story not worth telling, The Cheetah Girls: One World proves to be an unnecessary story.
With the girls ready to head off to college, they get offered the opportunity to star in a Bollywood film. Upon their arrival in India, they discover the budget only allows for one lead actor, which pits Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Dorinda (Sabrina Ryan), and Aqua (Kiely Williams) against each other for the opportunity to possibly be an international movie star.
You just know things would go downhill when the film opens with the news of Galleria portrayed by Raven-Symoné not appearing in this third installment of the franchise. The main focal point of the first two gets shelved, which would make you think the other three girls will have their moments to shine, but unfortunately, that does not occur either. Instead, we get a bunch of worthless romances and an excuse for these girls to visit another country.
Coming as the third film, it’s obvious the identity of this group has completely been lost. They went from a group of girls seeking to make a difference with their music to wanting to be movie stars all of a sudden. They get this opportunity by randomly getting an audition for what they perceive to be a Hollywood film. Then they realize they misheard and instead it would be a Bollywood movie filmed in India. Dorinda and Aqua then get disheartened because they did not think they would be spending their summer in India despite their initial excitement to spend it in California. Apparently Dorinda had to teach a summer dance camp and Aqua had college prep courses, which only becomes a problem when they hear they must go to India.
The lack of electricity in this film reveals what the previous installments could mask, which is the subpar story. It becomes easy to pick everything apart because nothing truly engaging happens to keep our minds distracted. I found myself laughing at the idea of these girls seeking to be international movie stars from an independent Bollywood film with a budget unable to set up a singular set. The film wrote itself into a hole where they want this to be such a glamorous opportunity for them, but yet an underdog story for the director, Vikram (Michael Steger). The two things cannot compute. It became difficult to nitpick the issues of Cheetah Girls 2 because every song and dance sequence had such vibrancy that nothing else mattered.
Every scene in Cheetah Girls: World Tour feels artificial and unnecessary because these characters do not resemble the characters they were in the previous films. This go-around Aqua and Chanel get the love interests, as they’re the only ones who have not received this treatment in the previous films. The love story of Aqua and this IT guy named Amar (Kunal Sharma) left me baffled in its ridiculousness. She has a crush on him from the times she has called him with questions about her technology. It’s one of those scenarios where the girl knows all about the subject matter but wants an excuse to have the guy talk to her. She develops a crush on him based solely on his voice and not even knowing what he looks like. While they’re in Mumbai, she mentions she’s looking at a beautiful sunset to which he replies he’s also seeing a great sunset. Odd, so she thinks she may be near him and the two meet for the first time. Reader, Mumbai has a population of over 18 million people and this sunset could be seen in any part of this city, but she happens to be in the same exact area to meet him for the very first time. I nearly had to shut it off at that point. This romance feels as forced as a dog being put into a cage.
We all come to Cheetah Girls films for their song and dance sequences, which this film provided but it lacked any real power in it. Sure, it has a unifying message about the bond built between people of different nations, but none of the sequences carried the same magic I became accustomed to with this group. The dance sequences lacked the fire of the previous films and somehow the trio of lead actors regressed in their acting ability in this go-around.
The Cheetah Girls: One World can just be ignored unless you really want to finish this entire trilogy of films. It really shows the importance of Raven-Symoné and Lynn Whitfield to the success of the previous two films, as their absence was definitely felt. Nothing in the story tries to justify its existence and it becomes a huge letdown after the far superior Cheetah Girls 2.