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Film / 16 Wishes

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Everyone's sweet 16 is special; Abby's is magical.
16 Wishes is a 2010 Disney Channel Movienote  produced by MarVista Entertainment and starring Debby Ryan as Abby Jensen.

Abby always wanted the perfect 16th birthday and for her 16 special birthday wishes to come true. But when it finally comes, it starts off less than spectacularly - until a fairy godmother shows up with 16 magical candles, each corresponding to one of Abby's birthday wishes. In the process she learns an important lesson - Be Careful What You Wish For.

The movie itself turned out to be a surprise success, especially with a demographic not typically associated with Disney Channel - adult males. For this reason, many give credit to 16 Wishes for helping to establish Debby Ryan as being a "face" for Disney Channel and helping her land her own sitcom, Jessie.

Not to be confused with Sixteen Candles - even though there are, indeed, 16 candles.

This movie provides examples of:

  • An Aesop:
    • Appreciate your youth, because it doesn't last forever.
    • Appreciate things in general, especially your family and friends.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Abby wishes to be treated like an adult...and becomes an actual adult.
  • Birthday Buddies: Abby and her next-door neighbor rival Krista share a birthday. This is torturous for Abby, who is stuck watching Krista get huge parties, expensive gifts, and even a lot more respect from the adults than she gets. The plot is that Abby wants to have the best Sweet Sixteen ever, and uses a bunch of her wishes to knock Krista down a peg at the same time. This then ties into the reason why Krista bullies Abby: Abby stole Krista's best friend, Jay, from her during a birthday party, and Krista hated her ever since.
  • Brick Joke: One of Abby's wishes is for a taste for sushi. Guess what's on the plate Celeste is serving in the party?
  • Celestial Deadline: The candles' magic will no longer work at midnight, and the wishes granted will become permanent.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The fact that Abby stuck a photo of her Love Interest to her wish list using chewing gum allows her to undo her wish gone wrong at the end of the film.
    • One of the pictures in Abby's room during the opening sequence is a photo from the day that Abby and Jay declared themselves best friends, setting off Krista's grudge against the former.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Possibly. Depends on how appropriate a response you feel that making the last eight years of someone's life miserable just because your best friend decided to hang out with them instead of you is. Krista's vengeance would have been better spent on Jay than on Abby.
  • Dreaded Kids' Table: One of Abby's wishes is to be treated like an adult, which she decides upon during a Thanksgiving dinner at which, although her rival of the exact same age was at the adult table, she is stuck eating with the little kids who torment her.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Abby's parents take one of these, where she's yelling at them after having just woke up, and Abby's not happy with it. It turns out to be helpful for later on.
  • Exact Words: Abby's 9th wish was to be treated like an adult and the candles grant it by turning her into one.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When Abby is accidentally turned into an adult by her ninth wish, her curly hair becomes straightened.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie is set over the course of Abby's sixteenth birthday.
  • Foreshadowing: Despite supposedly being the Alpha Bitch, Krista never acts openly nasty to anyone but Abby, hinting at The Reveal that she has a personal grudge against Abby.
  • Freudian Excuse: Krista actually had a pretty decent one for her treatment of Abby. Abby stole her best friend, Jay, and the two of them went on to do everything together, leaving Krista out.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Abby learns this upon her wish to be treated like an adult literally turns her into an adult, meaning she's not 16 anymore and can't do any of the things she used to.
  • Growling Gut: Thanks to skipping breakfast so she can focus on doing her makeup, Abby's stomach lets out a hungry rumble before the wasps infesting her house chase her outside.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Krista and Abby become friends, after a somewhat overdue apology from Abby.
  • Humiliation Conga: After Abby becomes an adult, her parents leave her to fend for herself, her friends literally forget she exists at what was supposed to be her 16th birthday party (and their lives go on better without her), and when she tries to go home her car runs out of gas. And if that wasn't enough, her shoe heel breaks on the walk home - and she naturally gets splashed by a passing car.
  • Innocently Insensitive: What sparked Abby and Krista's lifelong rivalry. Abby came between Krista and Jay when they were little. The three of them could have been friends all along if Abby hadn't written Krista off as a mean girl.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Subverted. Through one of Abby's wishes, she learns that the world is better off without her if she continues to act bratty and selfishly.
  • It Only Works Once: Abby's wishes can only be granted once per hour.
  • Jerkass: The saleswoman who condescendingly treats Abby and Jay, teenagers, as if they were infants. This, however, is subverted because Krista bribed her.
  • Jackass Genie: Subverted. The candles blatantly twist wish number 9 into an undesirable outcome (see Exact Words), but it was to teach Abby a lesson that she desperately needed to learn.
  • Loophole Abuse: Abby's sixteenth wish is simply a picture of popular boy Logan attached with bubblegum; she switches that with a picture of herself taken that morning and wishes she could go back to the beginning of the day, undoing all her wishes and becoming 16 again.
  • Make a Wish: The main theme of the movie revolves around Abby using magic birthday candles to make her wishes come true on her birthday.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Played with. The rules of the candles are fairly specific: Only one wish can be granted per hour and Abby can't rewrite the wishes, so she's stuck with what she wrote down. However, the definition of "hour" is pretty loose: You can get one wish at 8:56 and then another one at 9:01 if you want. Also, Abby manages to pull off a little Loophole Abuse on the second one; by removing the "wish", which was just a picture, and replacing it with another one, she changed her wish.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Abby uses her sixteenth wish to start the whole day over, all of her previous wishes are undone.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Abby makes her ninth wish for people to stop treating her like a kid, she instead becomes a full-fledged adult.
  • Petty Childhood Grudge: Krista has bullied Abby ever since they were little kids, made harder by the fact that they were neighbors and Birthday Buddies. Abby can't understand why Krista hates her so much, until she discovers that when she was a kid at Krista's birthday party, she'd inadvertently took Jay away from her, making him her friend instead of Krista's.
  • Reset Button: Abby hits it at the end, using her sixteenth wish to start the entire day over and undo all her wishes so she can make things right.
  • The Reveal: The picture of Abby and Jay as childhood friends is shown to have a hidden meaning: when the photo was taken, Krista was standing next to Jay and was cut out of the picture, figuratively and literally.
  • Roadside Wave: While sitting on the bench trying to fix her broken high heel, a vehicle drives past and splashes Abby.
  • Special Occasions Are Magic: The movie centers around Abby Jensen turning 16 years old and being visited by a Fairy Godmother. She is granted 16 magical candles corresponding to the wishes on her board of goals.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Celeste says the wasp infestation has been "nesting for 16 years." In other words, Abby has had that amount of time to become a pest.
    • She later says that the wasps are all gone "like they never happened."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: All promos show the shot of Abby using her final wish to start the whole day over and scenes from the shared sweet sixteen with Krista at the end.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Abby's candles will no longer work at the stroke of midnight, and any wishes granted by then will become permanent.
  • You Must Be Cold: Jay gives Abby his jacket when she's forced to go to school in her pajamas and slippers.