Winning winter Disney tale for tweens
Kids today are so lucky. They get a Disney aspirational romantic TV-movie for every season.
Cloud 9 (8 p.m. Friday on Disney Channel) is a winter daydream for tweens, set in the apocryphal ski resort town of Summit Valley.
Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie) plays Kayla, a champion snowboarder who is ashamed to discover her scores have been consistently inflated because her daddy (Patrick Fabian) owns the mountain.
Luke Benward (Dear John) plays Will Cloud, a half-pipe phenom who retired after a disastrous fall. Now, this generous soul works in his mom's dog kennel, humbly pushing his charges around the slopes while wearing a big floppy hat.
Kayla and Will are thrown together as the nationally televised Fire and Ice competition approaches. At first, he thinks she's a spoiled little rich girl. But this may be a chance for redemption - and maybe even innocent love - for both of them. (Holding hands is pretty darn risqué in a Disney Channel movie.)
The comic relief is provided by Will's friends Sam (Andrew Caldwell), an unduly confident klutz, and Dink (Carlon Jeffrey), an avid amateur meteorologist. Dink wears a thermometer around his neck the way Flavor Flav used to rock a clock back in the day. Oh, and a kennel full of really hammy dogs.
The villains are an evil sportswear mogul (Jeffrey Nordling) and his unscrupulous but misguided son (Mike C. Manning).
For the most part, Cloud 9, executive produced by former Disney Channel comedy star and Jersey girl Ashley Tisdale, is a pretext to dress Cameron in a series of supercute snow outfits.
The slow-motion action scenes are exciting. And since snowboarders shred in goggles and helmets, there's no need to disguise the athletic doubles doing the real routines.
Add to that the snowy chalet's wonderfully cinematic setting, and Cloud 9 is quite winning - even if your daddy doesn't own the mountain.
8 p.m. Friday on Disney Channel