The 51 best things about ‘Model Behavior’

Photo credit: janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

Photo credit: janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

As previously stated in our look back at She’s the Man, retelling a classic story is the perfect basis for a teen movie. This is clearly what the Disney Channel was thinking when they premiered Model Behavior, a movie about a normal teen girl swapping lives with a model who looks just like her. Model Behavior was one of my favorite Disney Channel Premiere Movies. It’s super fun, stars a member of NSYNC and culminates in a high school dance, as all the best movies do. It doesn’t quite hold up these days — for instance, there are a ton of plot holes that mere dialogue changes could have fixed — but it’s still enjoyable to revisit. For your consideration: the 51 best things about Disney Channel premiere movie, Model Behavior.

  1. Based on the classic The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, Model Behavior tells the stories of a model (Janine Andrews) and an unpopular high school student (Alex Burroughs) who switch places and learn the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
  2. The opening scene is set to NSYNC’s “Here We Go,” which should tell you everything you need to know about the time period in which it takes place.
  3. If for some reason the above doesn’t make the proper impact on you, the fashion sure will. Yikes.
  4. Alex has a pager so her parents can alert her when she’s late for curfew. A PAGER. Once again, see above.
  5. Supermodel Janine’s big rebellion involves her ordering Chinese food in her car, which, same. When the woman on the phone asks her if she wants the dumplings fried or steamed, Janine retorts, “Hello? Do you see a pattern here?” Poor girl just wants to eat something delicious. I think we as viewers are supposed to relate to Alex more, but Janine is truly all of us.
  6. Janine’s mother is portrayed by Kathy Lee Gifford circa the Regis and Kathy Lee era.
  7. Janine’s brother is portrayed by Kathy Lee’s son, so at least they’re keeping it all in the family.
  8. Janine’s fellow model and pretend boyfriend Jason Sharpe is played by No Strings Attached-era Justin Timberlake, who was rocking brown curls for the role instead of his more common frosted tips. More on that later.
  9. Janine’s immortal line, which I shout all the time without having a personal assistant or a desire to drink lattes: “MONIQUE! My latte, I need my latte.”
  10. Exactly how offended Jeanine is by the idea of pretending to have a relationship with Jason for the press.
  11. Janine’s zinger towards her mother: “Mom, when you were a model, they were using oil paints instead of photography.” Ouch. She owns that roof above you.
  12. The sisterly affection that emanates off of Jeanine when she says, “Max! Break a leg. An arm. Maybe even a neck!”
  13. Instead of signing photos, Janine has her assistant Monique stamp her signature on photos for her fans.
  14. The outfit that Alex wears to be a server for her father’s catering company (think Poppin Fresh, only more gingham) is far too loud to be a viable server’s uniform.
  15. The sad, sad fact that Jeanine’s mother considers ice an essential food group.
  16. When Janine and Alex swap places, they don’t bother telling each other about anything important — for instance, Alex’s best friend’s name or the fact that Janine has a driver.
  17. Janine telling Alex’s mother that the first week of her diet should be all starches, sugars and lots of bacon and sausage. Alex’s mother believes her.
  18. Alex’s best friend Sharon refers to the word “move” as “the four letter word Eric Singer inscribed on your social tombstone,” in case anyone was worried that things weren’t dramatic enough.
  19. Janine striking model poses while the yearbook kid takes photos.
  20. The first photographer Alex meets while pretending to be Janine has an eyepatch.
  21. When that photographer says, “Janine, you’re standing there like a little stick person,” when Alex is acting really shy during their photoshoot.
  22. The photographer ending their photoshoot by saying, “This is so good I’m not talking to you anymore.” I need to start using that one in my everyday life.
  23. Janine’s first foray into education being one in which she psychoanalyzes her teacher in front of the entire class — and doesn’t get in trouble for it.
  24. One of Jason’s first lines in the film: “All that stuff about the two of us turning that island shoot into our own personal blue lagoon? That was totally my publicist talking!”
  25. Already tired of being teased by Mindy, Erik Singer’s ex-girlfriend and Alex’s #1 tormentor, Janine pours a carton of milk over her head in Greenfield High’s cafeteria.
  26. Mindy’s response, immortal in the minds of those who have seen this movie: “You little dweebette! How dare you! I’m lactose intolerant.”
  27. She quickly follows this with, “This is a flagrant violation of high school hierarchy!” in the lamest way possible. She is appallingly lame for someone so popular.
  28. Alex and Janine’s personal assistant Monique bond through roller blading, which is one of the most ’90s sentences I’ve ever written.
  29. The moment after Erik’s apology when Janine says, “Let me guess: you were trying to hold up to your tissue-thin image as a latter day James Dean, stuck in a world of stultifying mini-malls and lacrosse coaches who just don’t understand you.”
  30. Janine gives surprisingly solid advice to Sharon: “If you want to convince other kids you’re happening, you gotta convince yourself first.”
  31. Janine refers to Jason as a “frat packer,” which doesn’t make a lot of sense, considering he’s a model who doesn’t attend college.
  32. Alex/Jason and Janine/Erik both end up at La Gourmand on their dates, though with very different experiences. No one is more disappointed than Janine, who wanted a more teen-friendly place and not her usual.
  33. Jason’s famous line featured in the trailer from when he’s discussing his desire to go to college and study astronomy: “From the superficial stars to the real ones.” GET IT?
  34. The cheap shot in which Janine and Alex don’t realize that the mirror is gone in between the bathroom sinks and they JUST HAPPEN to move completely in tandem with one another. Why would they lean to one side at the same time? Why would they reach for the mirror as if they’ve never seen their own reflections before? They wouldn’t, that’s why.
  35. They each get annoyed about the other being on dates with their respective non-love interests, so they switch places and try to sabotage the other one while being offended by their food orders.
  36. Despite the disaster at La Gourmond, each couple ends up having the date of their dreams; Janine and Erik spend their night at a Dave and Busters-style arcade, while Jason and Alex hover near a telescope and say cheesy things about shooting stars. Methinks that Janine and Erik win this one, though that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve never seen the appeal of Justin Timberlake as a dreamboat.
  37. Fight me on that, I dare you.
  38. Jason’s admission to Alex about his former opinion of Janine: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I always thought you were a little stuck up, but you’re not. Deep down, you’re like a regular teenager. Kind of the way I’d like to be.” If he thought she was so stuck up, why did he want to date her in the first place? Also, if Jason is so unbelievably sweet, where did Janine’s frat boy impression of him come from? Watching this film as an adult has really brought up some questions for me.
  39. Just how creepy Erik’s response is when Janine explains that no guy has ever looked through her carefully crafted image to see the real her. He says, “I’m not going to let any other guy get the chance.” Hello, creepy murder wall, party of one. It’s cool, apparently Janine digs it.
  40. Alex’s parents don’t notice that her brother disappears one night to spy on his sister and her model lookalike friend in New York City. I know their father was busy with a job, but come on. Where is the parenting?!
  41. The moment in which Janine calls Erik on her cell phone while they’re both in history class. Gutsy, J, but eventually earns you a detention.
  42. The completely unrealistic way Claude Z’s $10,000 dress, the cornerstone of his entire collection, rips while Alex attempts to walk down the runway in it.
  43. Once again: how does Josh get all the way to New York City to blackmail his sister in the middle of the day without his parents knowing? Alex should blackmail him right back, there’s no way he had parental permission to be there.
  44. Alex attempts to confess the princess and the pauper situation to Jason by pulling her hair back, putting on glasses and handing him a copy of her brother’s blackmail tape instead of telling him using her words. Talk about dramatic and confusing, not to mention it being the reason both dudes think that their respective love interests are cheating on them. I’d like to point out the fact that it’s not like they declared steadies or anything. Relax, boys, you don’t own them.
  45. You know Janine is back in her regular place when she yells, “Monique! MY LATTE, I need MY LATTE,” that Monday morning.
  46. When the girls switch back, the writers stopped pretending like Alex was basically a Disney princess and she goes back to being absolutely wretched — I’m not sure what the deal was there.
  47. The band performing at Greenfield High’s Fall Ball is girl group Nobody’s Angel, of famed single “I Can’t Help Myself.”
  48. After Alex and Janine reveal the switch, the entire school acts like they’ve never noticed the resemblance — Alex must have taken her glasses off in front of them at some point, right? Right?
  49. During the explanation, Janine explains that they switched because neither of them was having any fun in their lives. Alex just adds that Janine’s life is miserable and she doesn’t want to be anyone but herself.
  50. The SICK BURN Erik pulls on Mindy when she threatens to never speak to him again: “Is that a promise?” See? BURN.
  51. The closing song is, in fact, Nobody’s Angel’s “I Can’t Help Myself.”

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart