The story starts with Sam, Rachel and Cindy's band, the Zettabytes, auditioning for a gig at the Earsplitter. Halfway through their song, the guy in charge calls out lead vocalist Sam for just standing there while she sings, when she should be dancing to the music. She tries, but it's less than pretty and they all know it. note
Fully aware of his friends' need for a new member, Roscoe gets a bright idea. Having already created a holographic cat using his father's technology, he says "Sure, why not?" and sets to work making a holographic human by compositing data from CDs, magazines, and pictures of Sam.
Flash forward to the next day, where the Zettabytes are trying to find their new singer/dancer, with hilarious results. After they've exhausted their list, Loretta waltzes in, asks them to play a song, and proceeds to demonstrate a gymnastics routine while singing. Stunned and amazed, the girls agree that she's perfect for the job. And then Sam trips through her and they learn about the whole hologram thing.
As the story goes on, it explores Roscoe's relationship with his father, Loretta, and Sam, as well as Sam's relationship with Loretta, and the troubles that keep building around those things.
It's less Anvilicious and Narmy than you might expect from a Disney flick, and actually rather enjoyable. For a time, it was hardly ever on the air, and when it was, it was at about 2 AM. However, it has since become available on DVD and Disney+.
Pixel Perfect provides examples of:
- Achilles' Heel: Holograms cannot go into open areas, or they will be completely destroyed; Loretta is no exception.
- Artistic License Physics
- Holograms are projections of light. They cannot be destroyed (partially or fully) by going into a place that cannot sustain the image (i.e. outside), much like a movie on the silver screen is not destroyed if it is projected onto thin air.
- Holograms are merely avatars. Even if it were somehow possible to "damage" or "destroy" holograms, it would have absolutely no effect on the actual program. The data for the 3D model would remain intact; it should never be necessary to remodel anything unless you forget to save.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Loretta, who "dies" and becomes a guardian angel.
- Belated Love Epiphany: Roscoe falls in love with Sam not long after she kisses him.
- Bittersweet Ending: Loretta dies and the band's success is implied to be over for good. But Roscoe finally reciprocates Sam's feelings and they fall in love, with Loretta now their guardian angel.
- Break-Up Song: The Moist Towelettes' song "Don't Even Try It". Although in the context it's sung within the movie it sounds more like a "we're better than you" song.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Subverted, partially. While the record company wants to take away the individual personalities that Loretta has and mass-produce her, the one who started out as a singer who signed away all his legal rights for success eventually come to terms with her sentience and even gives Loretta a choice of whether or not she wants to stay with them by giving her a way to escape to the internet.
- Cyberspace: Now available in white, with cascading, opaque squares for data, overweight men in hats and flying monster trucks for search engines, and swirling whirlpools for servers!
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Sam and Roscoe get together, and Loretta dies finally getting to enjoy the rain.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Sam is very jealous that Roscoe appears to be falling for Loretta.
- Loretta =wanting to enjoy the rain. Though it turns out to be the way she dies, it's also one of her happiest moments in the entire movie.
- The lyrics to "Nothing's Wrong With Me" also allude to Loretta's fate. Particularly: "I like dancing barefoot in the pouring rain..."
- Goth: A girl who signed-up for the Zettabytes audtions shows her role as this by screaming an angry limerick about her life.
- MY LIFE IS A LIBRARY BOOK
THAT I FORGOT I TOOK.
IT FELL IN THE SAND,
NOW I OWE A HUNDRED GRAND.
MY LIFE IS A LIBRARY BOOK.
- MY LIFE IS A LIBRARY BOOK
- Heroic Sacrifice: Loretta, by entering Sam's brain through an EEG machine, after Sam had fallen from a stage and gone into a coma. According to Roscoe, the differences between a computer and an EEG device would prevent her from exiting. Not that it stops her, obviously.
- Hollywood Science: Loretta entering the EEG machine makes absolutely no sense whatsoever from a technological standpoint.
- Hologram: Loretta, of course, is a sentient hologram.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Loretta, who wants to do normal things like feel rain. She gets her chance at the end, if only for a minute.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Sam. This is not helped by the fact that Loretta has a Brain With an Internet Connection, can defy gravity, is the perfect singer, dancer, and is
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Loretta, while temporarily in control of Sam's body, accepts that Roscoe does not love her, and resolves to leave her body after a bit of fun in the rain.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Loretta goes into Sam's mind, in an attempt to wake the latter from a coma.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Loretta, who exists only as a computer program, and yet falls for Roscoe.
- Life Imitates Art: interestingly enough, 3 years after this movie was made, Hatsune Miku was released. A Japanese singing synthesizer program with an anime girl appearance who later went on to preform sold out concerts all over the world as a Hologram. She is considered one of the world's first virtual diva pop stars. Sound familar?
- Made-for-TV Movie: Broadcast on The Disney Channel.
- Missing Mom: Roscoe's mother is only mentioned in one scene, where it's implied she left his father.
- Pygmalion Plot: Roscoe basically took his favorite parts from a bunch of models and actresses and his best friend Sam to create a perfect girl and then starts having feelings for her. True, she's not a physical object like a statue, but it fits the theme of the original Pygmalion myth.
- Our Angels Are Different: Yet again, Loretta, who becomes a guardian angel after "death".
- Robotic Reveal: Lorretta is revealed as a hologram after glitching during a concert. Not that anybody minds; in fact, it just makes her more popular.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Sam does not like Loretta hogging all of Roscoe's attention, while her feelings for him go completely ignored.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Sam doesn't stay unlucky long, that girl, and she and Roscoe are together at the end.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Roscoe's father is always telling him to keep making everything better than it is, even after he creates a humanoid hologram capable of emulating/having emotions. That becomes famous. And saves his job. He learned.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Loretta is holographic proof that if someone has thoughts and feelings, even if they're just made out of light, they're still a person.