“Rip Girls” premieres 4/22/00 at 7:30 pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel. Set on a beautiful Hawaiian island, the film tells the tale of Sydney, a sheltered thirteen-year-old girl who returns to her native Hawaii for the first time since she was a small child to claim an inheritance consisting of a faded plantation set on several acres of pristine beachfront property. Since she is the sole heir to the land, Sydney is faced with the difficult decision of either selling the plantation to land developers or keeping the property and convincing her overprotective father to move from their Chicago home to the island.
Although she feels like an outsider at first, Sydney befriends some of the local kids who teach her how to ride the waves, despite her father’s disapproval. Additionally, she attends a beach luau, observes whales playing in an isolated cove, and earns the attention of a handsome, charming boy. Most importantly, however, through these experiences, Sydney finds the courage to face her past, truly experience life, and, ultimately, fall in love with the island paradise that is her legacy.
Aimed at teen girls, this film sends out several positive messages, including dealing with the loss of a loved one, facing fears, and making decisions. There is also a good relationship between Sydney and her stepmother. The film has a glorious view of the island paradise, there are some exciting surfing sequences, and the acting is sincere. However, I expect only adolescents will relate to the electric guitar-laden score.