‘Cadet Kelly’: the most accurate military representation

Christy Carlson Romano, you beautiful land mermaid, you darling earthbound angel, you incredible Kim Possible voicing goddess. Never change, you darling woman. Courtesy of Dustin Senger via Wikimedia Commons

Before anyone critiques my review of “Cadet Kelly” and says I can’t make fun of war heroes because I have no military experience, I did get permission from our Humor Editor, Francisco, to write this. He is a VETERAN! And the only reason he joined the military in the first place is because his “Cadet Kelly” cosplay got out of hand. Since Francisco obviously speaks for all military members, I shall do my best to honor the integrity that this cinematic masterpiece brings to our troops.

For the members of my faithful audience that don’t know what “Cadet Kelly” is about, here is a brief synopsis. Hilary Duff’s character, Kelly, has to go to a military school in upstate New York (ew) because her new stepfather (also ew) is the Commandant of the school. Because she is Hilary Duff, she naturally doesn’t fit in. Hilary values, above all else, individuality. She isn’t about to conform to a standard because she’s now in “military school” and that it’s kinda “the point.” She immediately clashes with Cadet Captain Stone, played by Christy Carlson Romano. Their strife and conflict within the film is unparalleled, and results in a surprising amount of homoerotic energy.

Characters other than Kelly and Captain Stone are mostly unimportant, as the audience spends most of the movie wondering when those two are gonna bang anyway. I mean, I completely understand. If Christy Carlson Romano was yelling at me, I would also feel some things. However, this movie was released in the dark ages (the early 2000s), and was created by Disney, so both characters end up having a crush on a man named Brad. Here is where I see a couple plot holes. For one, women having crushes on men at all baffles me. Secondly, no one ever actually develops a crush on men named “Brad,” they just suddenly find themselves married to them with three kids and a mortgage they can’t pay because “Brad” is trying to start a career making his own kombucha. These plot holes don’t bother me though, as seeing Christy Carlson Romano in uniform makes me forget about everything else.

On the topic of Kelly, for a Disney movie heroine, she is, frankly, obnoxious. It’s not very often I think, “Oh my god, just fit in already. You’ve proved your point, Kelly!” when watching a Disney movie. Even Lizzie McGuire would be tired of Kelly. If Hilary Duff happens to read this review, I don’t want her to think I am bashing her personally. Wikipedia states that she is an actress, singer-songwriter, designer, author, producer and businesswoman. I would never bash anyone that talented. A real sextuple threat! I think I speak for all of us when I say that Hilary Duff’s Christmas album, “Santa Claus Lane,” will be playing on repeat for the next 37 days. Mariah Carey who?

Cadet Kelly has very realistic military representation for a Disney movie. For instance, if you paint a rainbow on your superior officer’s hair, your stepfather, who also happens to be commandant, will only lightly reprimand you and make you lug around equipment for the group on campus that twirls the gun thingys. Also, the group on campus that does twirl the gun thingys are the coolest and most popular students, which I’m assuming has to be true. It takes a lot of talent to not drop guns that can’t be fired anyway. Maybe I should learn to twirl fake guns, since the popularity I would receive from that would hopefully negate the lack of popularity that comes from writing movie reviews.

As I near the conclusion of this review, I suggest that the film be grouped with other militarily influenced ones. Netflix, for instance, should immediately add it to its “war films” category. Just think of it: “Black Hawk Down,” “Schindler’s List,” “Cadet Kelly.” For all you Hilary Duff lovers out there, this film can be found on the new streaming platform, Disney+, but honestly if you truly love Hilary Duff, you already own it on DVD and VHS. I even (begrudgingly) got the platform, so if someone could remind me in six days to cancel my free trial, that would be great. Finally, I give this film a solid 600 out of 600, representing the number of times I want Christy Carlson Romano in uniform to yell at me.


  1. In my opinion Captain Stone was just doing her job and Kelly’s naivety about making a military school kinder is stupid. Besides, she right away has no respect for Captain Stone or the rules.

  2. This movie was labelled a comedy.. I found the most comical part of it to be how outrageously they portrayed the military LOL

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