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Wayback Wednesday: Jump In! (2007)

We failed Corbin Bleu and for that I am truly sorry.

Does anyone else remember the unbridled joy of jumping rope on the school playground during recess? In elementary school there were a few times a year when someone would bring a jump rope or two to school and during recess almost everyone would take turns getting in there and showing how skilled they were at skipping. And when a second rope was introduced and the double dutch started? Forget about it! The skilled skippers really jumped out then! That was true harmony. The fun of skipping rope and jumping double dutch brings children together. As it turns out, watching a movie about jumping rope is just as much fun as the activity itself. Jump In! (2007) may be one of the less remembered Disney Channel Original Movies but I’m surprisingly delighted to say that it’s well worth a rewatch. 

Credit: / Buena Vista Television

Jump In! follows Izzy Daniels, a teenager who is pressured by his father and his friends to follow through on his training and become a professional boxer. When Mary, his friend and neighbour introduces Izzy to the very different world of competitive double dutch, Izzy begins to question what he wants his future to look like. 

Before I turned on the movie I thought to myself, “is this the movie that has the Jordan Pruitt song ‘Jump to the Rhythm’ in it?” Oh yes it surely is and let me tell you, it remains a bop. I don’t think I have seen this movie since the one time I saw it as it aired on TV 16 YEARS AGO. My mind hasn’t give it a single thought since then but oddly enough, the embarrassingly cringey ad for the movie that was like, “here’s how to understand the phrases in Jump In! lives in my mind rent free. This ad was so ridiculous. It was like, “‘these skills are tight’ means ‘you are really good at that!’” Um, thank you for that much needed definition Disney. 

Jump In! is kind of like if you put Bend It Like Beckham (2002) – check out my review, hereBilly Elliott (2000) and Rocky (1976) together in a blender. Full of one sports / performance / tournament movie cliché after another, much of this movie is just montages of athleticism. Incredible athleticism, mind you, but there is definitely much more focus on the amazingness of double dutch rather than an amazing story. With a slightly more sophisticated script and teen actors who were on the same level as stars Corbin Bleu and Keke Palmer, I could have easily seen Jump In! as the type of movie that made it to the big screen. 

2007 was a great time to be Corbin Bleu. The High School Musical series (2006 – 2008) was just about the biggest thing to hit the tween world and being one of the core cast members of those movies made him world famous. His music career was taking off, he got to reprise his role from the pilot of Hannah Montana (2006 – 2011) and he landed the starring role in Jump In! Of course, it’s no surprise why the role of Izzy was given to Bleu. In addition to being a sensational dancer and athlete, Bleu is a genuinely good actor. Bleu is one of the rare teen stars who actually took the crafts of music, dance and acting seriously and therefore deserved so much more career-wise. Seriously, his dancing and acrobatic abilities are UNREAL. Shame on his agent for not catapulting him to widespread fame and getting him more roles in musical projects!  The irony is, he and his skills would probably blow up now on TikTok. Still, I would have been more than content if he had scored a Disney series after the High School Musical hype ended. Bleu should be as proud of Jump In! as he is of High School Musical. This movie definitely opened up my eyes to just how talented of an entertainer Bleu is and how much of a missed opportunity his career is. Serious question though, why was Bleu’s real life father cast as his father in Jump In!? Were they trying to be the Judy Garland / Liza Minelli of the Disney channel? Because Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus already had that on lock. 

Jump In!, Akeelah and the Bee (2006), Joyful Noise (2012)…Keke Palmer stays starring in competition movies. I love that even in 2007 she was a powerful enough force to earn the coveted “and” credit. She’s been an icon since day one I fear. Perhaps more than any other child actress, with the exception of Hilary Duff, Palmer has made a perfect transition from childish roles to slightly more mature teenage roles to the roles of a leading lady. Palmer has a wonderfully entertaining range and you can bet your bottom that if you see her name in the credits of a movie, you’re in for a good time. 

I’ve never been able to do basic double dutch but oh my God, there is no way I could ever pull off the incredible feats of athleticism that competitive jump ropers pull off. If it’s not already an Olympic event, put double dutch in the Olympics! To put it mildly, double dutch is HARD. I’m sure that to land a part in this movie all of the actors had to have some level of competency when it came to double dutch, but I’m also sure that the number of takes / the editing it took to make the routines look seamless was wild. I swear, for a majority of Jump In! my jaw was on the floor just in awe of the physical prowess of these jumpers. 

If you’re like me and it’s been well over a decade since you’ve seen Jump In!, I’d recommend giving it another look. It’s worth it to witness the incredible jump rope skills, the undeniable talent of Bleu and Palmer and for the iconic comeback, “shut don’t go up, prices do.” If you don’t think I’m going to use that the next time someone has the audacity to tell me to shut up, you are sorely mistaken.

Have you seen Jump In!?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!


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