How to Build a Better Boy
Written by Jason Mayland
Directed by Paul Hoen
Disney Channel gender-swaps Weird Science and also turns it into a statement about government drones, somehow doing a better job than the Robocop remake. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it did. Probably because How to Build a Better Boy is actually fun to watch, despite it’s goofy origin and Disney squeaky-clean upper class template.
Gabby Harrison (China Anne McClain) and Mae Hartley (Kelli Berglund) are smart over-achieving high school sophomores that finish calculus tests in under 9 minutes (to the annoyance of their peers!) Gabby is 100% focus on her career track and saving the world through being incredibly awesome and smart, while Mae is starting to get distracted by boys. Particularly the star quarterback Jaden, who she tutors in math. Jaden may or may not have feelings for her, but that’s not the problem. The problem is Jaden is currently dating cheerleader Nevaeh Barnes (Ashley Argota), who is 100% focused on how awesome Nevaeh Barnes is and needs Jaden to be her perfect accessory while she becomes Homecoming Queen.
Thus Nevaeh Barnes and her posse humiliate Mae in front of the entire school (and Jaden!), the school having nothing better to do than watch two of the students be sassy to each other. Mae counters by pretending she has an awesome boyfriend who’s Alaskan, thus that’s why no one knows him. Even though everyone knows she’s lying, this puts Gabby on the thinking train and soon she’s scheming to create a virtual boyfriend for Mae. Mae’s dad does video game research, so Gabby’s plan is to hack into his company and use the AI models to create an AI boyfriend. This plan would be clever, except for the fact Mae’s dad secretly works for the government and is creating an autonomous robot fighting soldier/drone. A little obvious plot magic later and suddenly all the traits Mae wanted in a boyfriend are now encoded in this drone, unknowingly to the girls, and the result causes the computers at home to get fried.
The next day at school, suddenly the fake boyfriend Albert Banks has a huge social media profile and is now friends with half of the school. Nevaeh begins mocking the obviously fake profile, when suddenly Albert Banks (Marshall Williams) himself drives up in a Lamborghini. As he’s totes handsome and charming, suddenly every single girl is in love with Albert because he’s emotionally ambidextrous and a boy boy but sensitive and unnnnnhhhhhuuuuhhh and other strange sounds. Albert only has eyes for Mae, and proceeds to become the most perfect boyfriend ever, with picnic lunches and singing Selena Gomez in the park.