Note: This is not to be confused with the 1982 American teen sex movie of the same name.
Zapped is a television film made for Disney Channel starring Zendaya, Chanelle Peloso, Emilia McCarthy and Spencer Boldman. Zendaya portrays the lead role, Zoey Stevens.
Zoey Stevens is an average 16-year-old girl whose mother has just remarried. They move in with her new stepfather and three stepbrothers. Zoey's stepbrother Adam is always in a rush due to being captain of the basketball team; the youngest one, Ben, is always getting dirty; Zach, the middle child, has a habit of making disgusting food creations, and their father, Ted, is the basketball team coach and is always loud. When Zoey arrives at her high school following a disastrous first morning with her new family, Adam quickly abandons her and she makes an unlikely friendship with a kind student named Rachel. Rachel accidentally leads Zoey to the wrong side of the school and she walks in on a science class. She is escorted by Jackson Kale to the correct room and is watched by Taylor Dean. Later, she arrives at dance tryouts, but she learns that her shoes were spoiled by her new brothers. Zoey attempts to dance her own routine during tryouts, further irritating Taylor. She falls due to her shoes and both Zoey and Rachel are banished to the junior varsity team. Zoey goes home to find out the family dog, Humphrey, has destroyed her room. In retaliation, she downloads a dog training app on her phone that forces Humphrey to obey her with a command and a push of a button. Humphrey, not liking the app, grabs her phone and drops into a bathtub filled with water. Ben then tries to help Zoey get the water out, but accidentally throws it out the window, the phone then slides down a solar panel and lands in Humphrey's food bowl. Zoey’s mom puts the bottom portion of the phone in a bowl of rice and reassures her that things will work out.
The next morning, the phone seems to be working again. She tries tries to use the app on Humphrey but gets upset when it doesn't work. However, she is surprised to see the app now works on boys. Zoey uses the app on her brothers and stepfather, making them quieter, more focused, cleaner, and healthier. She also uses the app to improve the behaviors of the boys at her school. Later that day, Zoey arrives at dance practice and is elected as the captain. However, her group dances horribly. Zoey uses the app powers on her team and they dance amazingly. She goes to the principal and proposes a dance-off competition between the junior varsity team and varsity team. The principal schedules the dance-off for the night of the upcoming basketball tournament.
Everything seems to have been changed for the better, thanks to the app. However, as time passes, Zoey sees that the boys are becoming lifeless after being forced to do the things that she wants them to do. Zoey tries to reverse her commands with new commands but during dance practice, Taylor mocks the J.V. team's lifeless and robotic dancing. Zoey gets mad and uses the app to mess up the varsity team's dance practice. When Jackson walks in and sees Zoey showing Taylor up, he leaves. Zoey chases after him and (accidentally) uses the app to make him kiss her. Jackson is confused and walks away. Zoey returns to the team and decides to end the practice. In the restroom, Taylor steals the phone while Zoey washes her face.
Zoey and Rachel are at Zoey's house, discussing how to reverse the effects of the app, when they learn that Adam has college scouts coming to his basketball game. To make matters worse, they realize that the phone is missing. Meanwhile, Taylor is busy trying to figure out how Zoey controls boys. Just before the basketball game begins, Taylor walks in and controls every male in the room. Zoey steps in (and one by one the rest of her family join her) and persuades Taylor to use it on her instead. Rachel is able to tackle Taylor and the game begins. Zoey figures out how to reverse the app with the word "Release", smashes her phone and throws it out, much to Taylor's shock. The basketball game begins and Adam's team wins. At the dance-off, the J.V. team is able to win using their own unique dances. At the end of the film, Zoey and Jackson are dating and Zoey and her stepfamily have finally adjusted to living together.
In a post-credits scene, two students in detention find the phone and turn it on, showing the app.
Why It Should Be Zapped
- To get the elephant out of the room: This film is yet another disastrous attempt at trying to tell females to hate and ridicule males. As such, it portrays every female as compassionate, innocent and trustworthy. On the other hand, the male characters are painted as obnoxious, childish, lazy, cruel and even sexist at times, which sends out an unhelpful and toxic message to people of all genders.
- When Zoey and Rachael discover the phone's power to control boys, they assume that they can solve all world problems which are caused men according to the movie's implications, which is very misandrist.
- The reason why the phone app can't also control girls is because they're too "catty."
- The acting, whilst not beyond horrible, never goes beyond the point from feeling poor and artificial, most notably from Zendaya. Which is strange, since she has been in some amazing movies such as the MCU Spider-Man films, Dune (2021), The Greatest Showman, Spies in Disguise and TV shows such as KC Undercover, which received generally positive reviews from audiences and critics. This could be forgiven as she was very new to acting at the time and had little or no experience as an actress at all. In fact, this was her second acting role, after being cast as Halley Brandon in Frenemies, which is no better than this.
- The characters for the most part feel clichéd and stereotypical. Not only that, but they can be very irritating at certain times, and their character development is bad.
- Zoey is a regular high school girl who hates her family members because she finds them annoying. Her character development is also quite bad, as she spends most of the movie controlling the boys to do whatever she wants until the very end. In one scene, she even challenged Taylor to a dance-off in the basketball court for the right to be the school's feature dance team which she plans to win by cheating.
- Taylor is a nothing more than a typical mean girl found in every high school drama. She also has little or no motivation to be a bully whatsoever.
- Tripp is obnoxious, mean and sexist. He even farts on Zoey at one point, which is just disgusting.
- Zoey's (male) family members are also bland dysfunctional family stereotypes. The dad is noisy, active and sporty. The eldest brother, Adam is always in a rush. The youngest sibling, Ben is always getting dirty. The middle brother, Zach has an unhygienic habit of making disgusting concoctions of food.
- The annoying phone chime that plays far to frequently throughout the entire film.
- Questionable logic, for example:
- The way the phone developed the power to control boys from being dropped into a bathtub of water, getting thrown out the window, sliding down a solar panel and landing in Humphrey's food bowl is just plain ridiculous.
- The movie tries it's best to be comedic, but fails, making most of the humor come off as cringeworthy, gross, unpleasant, mean-spirited or just plain unfunny.
- The running gag of Tripp farting at Zoey.
- Zach's habit for creating disgusting food.
- There's a very unappealing scene where Zoey walks past a group of boys with bad hygiene.
- Most chemistries feel half-baked and boring, particularly the relationship between Zoey and Jackson.
- The special effects in the film look subpar at best and terrible at worst (The scene mentioned in WISBZ#6#1 being the worst offender).
- Speaking of lazy editing, there are a bunch of cringeworthy, artificial, annoying and cartoon-ish stock sound effects that seem to be edited in for no particular reason but to worsen the already bland humor in the movie.
- There are a bunch of unappealing and unnecessary close-ups. A good example would be a jump scare of a close-up of a praying mantis's face.
- Somewhat misleading title: Nobody actually gets zapped in the film, as well as the title being lazy, generic and laughable.
- Aside from the misandrist message about hating men, there is a scene in a subplot where Zoey uses the app to... make a boy kiss her, which promotes rape, a serious crime in all countries.
- The idea of having an app/device that lets the user control people is interesting, but is executed very poorly.
- There are some heartwarming moments in the movie, such as the ending.
- Speaking of the ending, the moral given is admittedly much better than the main message, as it teaches you to respect your family, even if they may be hard to tolerate.
- Some characters are likeable such as:
- Jackson (depending on your view)
- Jeannie (Zoey's mom), who actually cares about Zoey, despite the latter not being particularly likeable.
- One of the actors (Spencer Boldman) was actually a childhood friend of Zendaya, so it's understandable that they’d have a little bit of good chemistry.
The premiere garnered 5.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast on cable that night. In the United Kingdom, it got 320,000 viewers including timeshift.
- The movie first aired before the premiere of Girl Meets World.
- This is Zendaya's second acting role, after playing Halley Brandon in a film called Frenemies.
- This is currently the only movie where Zendaya hasn't starred alongside Bella Thorne.
- Co-star Spencer Boldman is actually a childhood friend of Zendaya.
- The first DCOM that premiered with the updated Disney Channel logo.
- The title was originally going to be "Unleashed".
- This movie is Louriza Tronco's debut.