It may go without saying from a millennial perspective, but I am a huge fan of Disney Channel Original Movies. When I saw Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century for the first time, I did my hair like Zenon's for an entire school year. When I saw Motorcrossed, I seriously considered asking my parents to let me get into motocross racing. (Luckily, they stopped that idea in its tracks). The Cheetah Girls are part of the reason why I was a part of my middle school chorus. But the Disney Channel Original Movie Model Behavior ? Model Behavior is actually a work of brilliance.
Tracking a few days in the lives of two teenagers who look alike, lead very different lives, randomly meet, and decide to trade places to see what a different life feels like, this Parent Trap-esque DCOM was so iconic of its time. Watching bookish Alex trade places with the too-glam Janine can hit the right spot when it comes to escapist film fun, but there's also a ton of little moments in Model Behavior that indicate its age. It's a glorious thing, spotting the oddities and the pop culture artifacts so emblematic of the year 2000. I'm here to divulge some of the best parts of Model Behavior, although there are so many golden nuggets that I'm not even sure where to begin...
1. The Glory Days Of *NSYNC
No teen movie from the early '00s is complete without some killer opening credits music, and, for Model Behavior, it was *NSYNC's time to shine. I urge you to press play right now and listen to the smooth harmonies of these national treasures while you read. It's a glorious throwback.
2. Being A Teen Model
Before Kendall, Gigi, or Cara, there was Janine. You know, just your average teen model, who is always hitting up cocktail parties in Manhattan and storming the fashion world. Janine worked it, but it's still a bit weird to watch a teenager making a living as a model way back in 2000.
3. Monique, The Intrepid Personal Assistant
Oh my god, sweet Monique. Her latte skills were lacking but she was so on the ball that she deserved a nice, long vacation. Again, this goes hand-in-hand with the whole "I'm a successful teen model" schtick, but how weird is it watching Monique kowtow to a 16-year-old?
4. Are Alex & Janine Doppelgängers? Twins?
So here's a major plot hole that only hits when you re-watch: Are Alex and Janine twins? Doppelgängers? Distant cousins? There's never an explantation — not even a clumsy bit of exposition — to explain how these seemingly random strangers are carbon copies. What gives?
5. Alex Was Kinda The ‘00s Molly Ringwald
I kinda love Alex's style in Model Behavior. Her party outfit in the opening sequence was glorious (keep an eye out for the oversized red hat), and her wacky outfits reflected her love of fashion and her unique self. If that doesn't scream Molly Ringwald circa Pretty In Pink, I don't know what does.
6. Eric Singer Is A Bit Of A Jerk
Well, hello there, Underdeveloped Male Love Interest. Eric was kind of a snooze, especially when put up against sweet, sweet Justin Timberlake (more on him later). He was an alpha male, a bit of a show-off and Janine was totally too good for him. C'mon, girl.
7. Kathy Lee Gifford Plays Janine’s Mom
I really wish Model Behavior had more Kathy Lee in it. She was the harried stage mom of Janine and has a handful of scenes to show off her chops. She was such a shining star in this DCOM, though.
8. Hello, Justin Timberlake, You Perfect Male Model
This was one of Timberlake's breakout roles during the mid-*NSYNC craze of the '00s. He's still a curly-headed, angel-faced boy bander at this point, but he's one of the best things about this DCOM. How did we ever get so lucky?
9. Janine's Obsession With Food Is Too Real
Janine was a chef at heart; how could you not relate? Watching her ogle the food Alex's caterer dad whipped up, or salivate over desserts on television, was just too real. This plays back into one of my favorite ideas that Model Behavior puts forward, which is essential for all of us to learn at an early age: Alex and Janine had to listen to their own inner voice, pushing them to chase career paths that their parents didn't approve of.
10. Rollerblading Used To Be A Thing
Remember how big rollerblading used to be? What a quick hit of nostalgia to watch Monique and Alex rollerblade in Central Park like it's no big deal. While it may not be so popular nowadays, little moments like this showcase how of-the-moment Model Behavior was when it was made.
11. A Nobody’s Angel Cameo? Yes, Please
Another girl group that got lost in the mix was Nobody's Angel, appearing in Model Behavior at the infamous prom/life-switching reveal scene. Gosh, I miss them so much.
12. This May Have Been Another Parent Trap Retread, But It Was Amazing
I love this film so much. Who cares that it takes some big tropes from other films or that it has some plot holes? Do I mind that it feels a bit cheesy or out of date? No way. Model Behavior is a perfect DCOM.
Well, now that I've taken a trip down memory lane, I think it's time I press play on another Nobody's Angel song and spend the rest of my day saluting the glory that is Model Behavior. I suggest you do the same.