How to Build a Better Boy
|How to Build a Better Boy|
|Distributed by||Disney-ABC Domestic Television|
|Directed by||Paul Hoen|
|Produced by||Adam Kossack
|Written by||Jason Mayland|
|Music by||Kenneth Burgomaster|
|Cinematography||David A. Makin|
|Original channel||Disney Channel|
|Release date||August 15, 2014|
|Running time||109 minutes|
How to Build a Better Boy is a Disney Channel Original Movie directed by Paul Hoen and written by Jason Mayland. It stars China Anne McClain, Kelli Berglund and Marshall Williams. The first images were shown during a promo for Disney Channel's Summer 2014, while the first promo aired on June 27, 2014 during the premiere of the Disney Channel Original Movie Zapped. The film premiered on August 15, 2014. The movie premiered on Disney Channel UK on September 19, 2014.
Mae Hartley (Kelli Berglund) and Gabby Harrison (China Anne McClain) are super smart tenth Graders. Their homecoming dance is coming and Mae is soon embarrassed by popular girl Nevaeh (Ashley Argota) when she tries to get Jaden (Noah Centineo) to go with her. She exclaims that she has a boyfriend already. Mae and Gabby try to figure out what to do. Gabby comes up with the idea to make her a boyfriend using Mae's father (Roger Bart)'s computer software - which they think is used to design video game characters. Gabby successfully creates a virtual boyfriend according to Mae's direction, and names him Albert (Marshall Williams).
The software goes haywire and short circuits Mae's dad's computer. Mae's brother Bart (Matt Shively) agrees to fix the computer if Gabby will go to homecoming with him. But the next morning, Albert actually shows up at school and every girl becomes jealous, including Nevaeh. Albert soon shows that he can speed read and throw/kick harder than normal humans. Bart tells Gabby she created a robot soldier and hacked into the Pentagon, where his dad happens to work for the DOD in, to do so. But this creates a string of problems as General McFee (Ron Lea) discovers the prototype robot soldier, who happens to be Albert, has escaped. The army presumes he has been stolen. Mae's father tries everything he can to convince General McFee the prototype soldier will be brought back to the facility.
Meanwhile, Albert shows his feelings for Mae since he is programmed to do so. After singing a remix of Love You like a Love Song by Selena Gomez & the Scene on the ukulele, he asks her to Homecoming, which Mae soon accepts. However, the amount of time she spends with him separates her from Gabby, who becomes concerned about losing her best friend. Gabby tries telling Mae that Albert is a super robot, but she refuses to believe her and the two girls separate. Albert even tries out for the football team with easy success. Later at the football homecoming game, Albert is in the stands watching the game with his girlfriend when one of the football team's players are injured. The coach quickly calls for Albert as a backup and Bart and Gabby witness this. Gabby tries to stop Albert from playing the game but Mae interferes preventing her friend from stopping Albert from playing.
The United States Army soldiers, led by General McFee, arrive at the homecoming game following a power outage (caused by three Russian criminals) which shuts down Albert's programming. They capture the criminals, retrieve Albert, and then question the girls Mae and Gabby at the facility where Albert escaped.
The government officials explain how Albert will only be used for good intentions and try to convince the girls that this is for their own good. Mae is upset at the fact that she'll never see him again, and not be able to attend homecoming with him. However, in a turn of events, Albert shows up at the venue and captures the attention of the attendees. Meanwhile, the army once again shows up at the venue and prepares to capture Albert again. However, Mae's father tries to convince them to hold off the capture until the homecoming dance is over, not wanting to ruin her night.
Nevaeh tries to ruin Mae's night but is dumped by Jaden in the process. But to Nevaeh's disappointment, Mae is crowned homecoming queen. However, it's revealed that the ballot box was stuffed by the army in order to trap Albert. Nevaeh interrupts Mae's speech and attempts to convince the audience that Albert is a robotic super soldier, but Jaden thwarts her by turning her warnings into compliments. The situation is successfully resolved and Gabby, along with Bart, talk to Jaden and find out that he originally intended to ask Mae to homecoming, but wasn't brave enough to do so. Gabby also realizes that she was wrong about him.
Gabby finds Mae backstage. Mae seems to be conflicted about being elected Homecoming queen. Gabby apologizes to Mae about telling her that Jaden was out of her league, telling her that her true intentions were to not lose her as a friend. She tells Mae that being popular "isn't really her thing," but that she supports Mae in whatever she wants to do. They part ways with Mae being more conflicted than ever. The Army also begins to plan their next move, planning to retrieve Albert as soon as he finishes his mission - kissing Mae at Homecoming. The Army, ironically enough, programs and designs the dance floor to be perfect for Mae (with lighting and props) due to her father's request to keep this night perfect until Albert is taken away.
Gabby sees one of the U.S. Army soldiers controlling the lights and realizes the Army is trying to capture Albert again. She watches hopelessly (as well as Jaden, who watches from the sidelines) as Mae dances with Albert and moves in to kiss him. However, Mae suddenly backs away and reveals that even though the moment is perfect, it doesn't feel right. Mae realizes she wants a relationship with a boy that's real, not fake or perfectly manipulated like Albert. Albert is impressed by her emotional depth and tells her that she is doing something he can't, she is changing and it is beautiful. Albert and Mae hug and he points out that the army is here to take him back. He asks her to initiate his self-destruct, saying it is what he wants and Mae complies. He bids her goodbye and begins to pulsate with bright lights. Gabby and Mae (along with the guests) watch as Albert breaks out of the venue through the ceiling and is destroyed. Bart smartly covers and thanks the principal for the 'awesome special effects'. The party continues, and Jaden musters the courage to ask her out. She tells him she'll reply later. Mae and Gabby are excited that Jaden told Mae how he feels - but Mae says "no boy is going to get in the way of our friendship."
- China Anne McClain as Gabby Harrison, Mae's best friend and one of the main protagonists.
- Kelli Berglund as Mae Hartley, Gabby's best friend and one of the main protagonists.
- Marshall Williams as Albert Banks, Mae's boyfriend to stand up to Nevaeh.
- Noah Centineo as Jaden Stark, Mae's crush
- Ashley Argota as Nevaeh Barnes, Queen Bee.
- Matt Shively as Bart Hartley, Mae's older brother
- Roger Bart as James Hartley, Mae and Bart's father who works for the government.
- Sasha Clements as Marnie
- Ron Lea as General McFee
- Jessie Camacho as Tony
- Beatriz Yuste as Mrs. Shapiro
- Neil Whitely as Police Chief
- Sabrina Carpenter - Stand Out
- Tahir Jahi - Turn It Up
- Marshall Williams & Kelli Berglund - Love You Like A Love Song (Selena Gomez cover)
- Mo Chedda feat. Cristina Renae - Higher
- Renald Francoeur - I'm Living Large
- Kelli Burgland and China Anne McClain - Something Real
Production began in Toronto, Canada at North Toronto Collegiate Institute. It is directed by Paul Hoen, executive produced by Robin Schorr and Adam Kossack, executive co-produced by Dan Seligmann and written by Jason Mayland.
The film was originally released on Watch Disney Channel on August 11, 2014. It premiered on August 15, 2014 on Disney Channel in the United States and Family Channel in Canada and gathered 4.6 million viewers. Ariana Grande's music video for "Break Free" also aired on Disney Channel during the movie as well as new episodes of Dog With a Blog and Girl Meets World following and proceeding the movie. Disney Channel (Netherlands & Flanders) has an airdate of September 6, 2014. Disney Channel (UK & Ireland) has a release date of September 19, 2014.
- "'A.N.T. Farm,' 'Lab Rats' Stars to Topline Disney Channel TV Movie". Hollywood Reporter. July 31, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- "Production Begins on Disney Channel Movie 'How to Build a Better Boy' Starring China Anne McClain". Zap2it.com. August 1, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- Tami (7 August 2014). "Family Channel, Disney XD And Disney Junior Summer Programming Highlights For August 11th To 17th". villagegamer.net. Retrieved 11 August 2014.