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Better Nate Than Ever, Only on Disney+





Review by John Delia

Middle school is where it usually all begins for fledgling actors and singers who look for common traits and test the waters with their peers. The film Better Nate than Ever hits the mark with a story that’s adventurous and inspiring. That said however, the actual possibilities of the central character that goes for the prize, in real life, would be minimal at best. A little drama, some heart, nice comedy and very entertaining, the target audience includes youngsters pre-teen to mid-teens.

Rueby Wood as Nate in BETTER NATE THAN NEVER from Disney+ Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nate Foster (Rueby Wood) is nervous about his tryout for the school play at his Pittsburg middle school. Hoping for the lead role of Abraham Lincoln in the rock musical Lincoln: The Unauthorized Rock Musical, he blocks out everything around him. That is except for the school bully who uses Nate to show his power. However, when he enters the auditorium later that day expecting the lead role, he finds he’s cast as a Tree.

Just as upset is Nate’s best friend Libby (Aria Brooks) who won’t let him fail. Finding a listing for the new musical Lilo & Stitch on Broadway looking for talented kids to play the parts, she tells him he must audition. So begins an adventure as the two sneak out of their neighborhood taking an overnight buss to New York City.

Rueby Wood as Nate and Aria Brooks as Libby in BETTER NATE THAN NEVER from Walt Disney Pictures.Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Director and writer Tim Federle does a fine job of setting the film up with quick character introductions. And, it’s inspiring with a song showing his star Rueby Wood’s talent. And what a talent the boy is with a super performance throughout the film. Guiding Rueby with a progressive touch, his Nate puts his best feet, voice and energy forward in this wildly “impossible” journey that shows his ups and downs as he navigates the Big Apple and a very difficult audition.

The film will be released on April 1 only on Disney+, but why the powerhouse studio sidesteps theatrical release is a mystery. The talent is great and impeccable, the story may be a bit “High School Musical”, but the heart and determination of the nicely played central characters is certainly worthy of the big screen. My rating for the target audience is 4 out of 5 Stars.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Lisa Kudrow, Rueby Wood, Aria Brooks, Norbert Leo Butz, Joshua Bassett, Michelle Federer, Julia Blanchard,
Directed and written by: Tim Federle
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama, Family
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, a suggestive reference and mild language
Running Time: 1 hr. 31.min
Opening Date: April 1, 2022
Distributed by: Disney+
Released in: Disney+

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