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The Suite Life of Zack & Cody DVD Compilations: Taking Over the Tipton • Sweet Suite Victory • Lip Synchin' in the Rain
Other DVDs with Suite Life Episodes: Disney Channel Holiday • That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana • Wish Gone Amiss • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior

"The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" Lip Synchin' in the Rain DVD Review

Buy The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Lip Synchin' In The Rain from Amazon.com The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Lip Synchin' in the Rain
Show & DVD Details

Executive Producers: Danny Kallis, Irene Dreayer, Jim Geoghan / Creators: Danny Kallis, Jim Geoghan

Writers: Billy Riback, Howard Nemitz, Adam Lapidus / Director: Rich Correll

Cast: Cole Sprouse (Cody Martin), Dylan Sprouse (Zack Martin), Brenda Song (London Tipton), Ashley Tisdale (Maddie Fitzpatrick), Phill Lewis (Mr. Moseby), Kim Rhodes (Carey Martin)

Notable Guest Stars: Brian Stepanek (Arwin), Adrian R'Mante (Esteban), Giovonnie Samuels (Nia), Aaron Musicant (Lance), Susan Blakely (Mrs. Madigan), Robert Torti (Kurt)

Running Time: 89 minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital (English, French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; White Keepcase
DVD Release Date: June 17, 2008 / Originally aired August - November 2007
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

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By Christopher Disher

Cole and Dylan Sprouse have held a lucrative position as Disney's tween idol twins for a few years now. As they finish their transition from tween to teen stars, a more realized image of the Sprouse Bros. is taking shape. Like twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen before them, the Sprouses have their own TV show,
a growing line of family films, a clothing label and even a graphic novel series (47 R.O.N.I.N., which is sold out on their website). They are also featured on posters, calendars, and other items, though to a much lesser degree than the Olsen Twins in their heyday. The brothers even keep up with important Disney appearances; for example, I recently saw them hanging out at the WALL•E reception that followed the premiere screening.

All child stars grow up and the Sprouses appear to be making the transition seamlessly. They turn sixteen in August and will likely continue to grow in popularity as their upcoming spin-off show "The Suite Life on Deck" debuts next year. This reinvention of the Suite Life brand couldn't have come sooner. As the boys mature, so do their silly antics in the show. When you mix the two together, you're left with something quite flat. The adventures at sea will provide a much-needed change of setting and a wealth of new exotic characters.

Arguably, their success is "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody"'s favor because without the twins there isn't a strong leg to stand on. Even Ashley Tisdale of the popular High School Musical franchise, who plays Maddie Fitzpatrick, isn't enough to draw viewers to a sitcom where the plots consistently revolve around wealth, popularity and typical life lessons of pop culture screen kids. It may have been enough to garner appeal based on mere curiosity about the show's premise but that appeal quickly diminishes as one actually watches. Even so, it's a strong performer in its class and when the show shines, it blazes.

Zack (Dylan Sprouse) shows off his musical "talent" by playing the triangle in the Cheevers High School Orchestra. London Tipton (Brenda Song) makes herself the center of attention in an effort to win back her boyfriend in "Arwin That Came to Dinner."

Social commentary is not something one would expect from a children's show. Yet, the majority of "Suite Life" plots revolve around the idea of social inequality. They do this from the perspectives of London (Brenda Song) the rich daughter of the Tipton hotel owner, the lowly hotel staff, the educated and loyal manager Mr. Moseby, and two rambunctious twin boys living in a relative palace. The show is a bit forthright in communicating the lesson learned at the end of each episode, but its attempt to moralize should be commended.

Cole and Dylan Sprouse take center stage as Cody and Zack Martin. They live in the upscale hotel with their mom Carey (Kim Rhodes), who sings in the downstairs lounge, but spend most of their time causing trouble for Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis). At least that's how it used to be. In the latter episodes we often follow the twins' movements through high school, experiencing fewer hotel excursions and shenanigans and more "difficult" scenarios surrounding girls and popularity.

Lip Synchin' in the Rain, the third DVD release devoted entirely to the sitcom, came recently bearing four episodes. All four come from Season 3, which per Disney Channel's irregular schedules, began airing late June 2007. The selection here is a good representation of the show's changing direction, especially illustrating the increasing "mature" storylines. All of the typical plot elements that writers recycle with other family shows have been used and abused many times over. The four featured episodes exhibit how the format now hinges more on London Tipton's ignorance and naivety than the twins' life at the hotel. Nevertheless, we get to see more than enough of them too.

The twins' mother Carey Martin (Kim Rhodes) and hotel manager Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis) are among the shocked audience members doling out applause to the gang's High School Musical stage show. Arwin shows off his colorful PJs in anticipation of his sleepover with the Martins.

"Lip Synchin' In The Rain" (22:15) (Originally aired August 12, 2007)
The school puts on a stage production of High School Musical involving all the "Suite Life" regulars. London and Maddie both audition for the role of Sharpay (Tisdale's part in the movies). Taking the sidelines, Zack serves detention backstage and Cody auditions for the role of a jock. London plays her "rich" card to her advantage and Mr. Tipton makes somewhat of an appearance at the final performance. The DVD takes its name from this episode for good reason -- it's a great example of how the show's attention has strayed from the twins to their slightly older female peers London and Maddie.

"Arwin That Came To Dinner" (22:35) (Originally aired August 5, 2007)
Arwin's mom moves out, leaving him to seek refuge in the company of the twins. After London's boyfriend Lance (Aaron Musicant) breaks up with her, she commissions Nia (Giovonnie Samuels) with diamonds to help her get him back. As usual, the comedy of these situations gets tiresome after the first few jokes. The best moment in the episode (and the whole disc) involves candy saleswoman Nia and her tip jar. She takes a stronger supporting role in this episode and adds some attitude to the mix, creating a fresh dynamic for the cast.

"Orchestra" (22:15) (Originally aired November 10, 2007)
Zack joins, or rather disrupts, the school orchestra and a Russian exchange student shows up Cody's musical talent and impresses his girlfriend, Barbara (Sophie Oda). Cody accidentally breaks up with her after a false rumor is passed around and he spends the bulk of the show griping about it. Meanwhile, at the behest of her father, London tries nearly every job at the Tipton. She leaves chaos and injury in her wake, yielding expectedly repetitive humor. Save for Cody repeatedly looking into the camera, the show is relatively easy to watch.

"A Tale Of Two Houses" (22:05) (Originally aired November 17, 2007)
In this typical episode, Zack and Cody experiment with the dynamics of love when they sneak behind their parents' backs to smooch with girls. Dad (Robert Torti) moves into a nearby apartment where the boys bring their girlfriends for some private time when he is away. Esteban learns his family is back in power over his native country. Consequently, his millions in assets are unfrozen at the bank and, now a wealthy man, he needs London to teach him how to be rich (until the inevitable happens).

London experiences, temporarily, life as a bellhop alongside Esteban (Adrian R'Mante) in "Orchestra." Zack, Cody, and some other kid come in for a hug with the twins' visiting father (Robert Torti) in "A Tale of Two Houses."


Picture quality leaves a lot of room for improvement. Originally shot in digital video rather than on film, the series is presented in its native 1.33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio. The tones are muted and the clarity a bit soft but otherwise up to par with other material in its class. Much of the dark areas show grain and the quality is even varied from episode to episode, the final one being the worst. For some reason, "A Tale Of Two Houses" is heavily interlaced while the previous episodes are not. Watching it on a standard tube television won't show any marked difference, but degradation in DVD-ROM computer playback quality is noticeable.

The audio is in standard Dolby Digital 5.1 with two tracks: English and French. The dub is a bit messy and the voices don't match well to the characters. Most noticeably, the voice actors for Zack and Cody sound well older than the boys.

Cole and Dylan Sprouse get "Twin-tastic." The Brothers Sprouse recall goofs in the Season 2 gag reel.


There are only two bonus features on the disc. The first is "Twin-Tastic" (13:34), in which Cole and Dylan Sprouse talk about what it's like being a twin and Brenda Song, who plays London Tipton, asks them candid, unoriginal questions about their genetics.

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While entertaining, it is often frustrating in its fatuousness. The boys discuss aspects of growing up, including driving. It's exactly the style that will interest young viewers but bore anyone who craves intellectual stimulation.

Second is a gag reel (4:04) from Season 2. It is of lower video quality and often repetitive, but otherwise humorous for what it is. Actually, it's a bit better than most gag reels I've seen as it mixes quick bloopers with longer erroneous segments and jokes about direction.

Finally, there is an option to play the disc using Disney's FastPlay. With this enabled, the disc cycles through the four episodes and immediately plays the two bonus features at the end. Rounding out the disc are sneak peaks for The Sword in the Stone: 45th Anniversary Edition, The Jungle Book 2: Special Edition, "Cory in the House", "Hannah Montana", Camp Rock, Minutemen, Sleeping Beauty: Platinum Edition, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, "Phineas and Ferb": The Fast and The Phineas, the Disney Movie Rewards program, "Wizards of Waverly Place", and Wall-E.

The menu opens to animated elevator doors and plays off that theme. Zack and Cody careen by on a luggage cart and crash with a plume of dust and debris. Score and effects are heard, while menu listings are displayed as elevator buttons. Each submenu is static and there isn't an option to browse the episodes by chapter, though you can navigate them with your remote. Inside the white keepcase, one finds a table of contents insert, a Disney Movie Rewards code, and a mini book of adverts for Disney TV shows on DVD.

Oh what mischief the Tipton Hotel walls have seen thanks to blonde moppets Zack and Cody. London, Maddie, Zack, and Cody take their bows for their supersynergistic production of High School Musical.


Though collapsing under the weight of its repetitiveness, "The Suite Life" will continue to entertain young fans of previous seasons. The premise remains a draw and sufficient attention is paid to the show's star twins even though they're often sidelined by the more humorous London Tipton. With prospects of the series being released in full on DVD seeming unlikely, this third disc in the series will benefit anyone's established collection.

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Related Reviews:
New to DVD: The Spiderwick Chronicles • Drillbit Taylor • Minutemen
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Taking Over the Tipton • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Sweet Suite Victory
The Suite Life on Deck: Anchors Away! • Wish Gone Amiss • That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana • Disney Channel Holiday
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior • Bedtime Stories • College Road Trip • Wizards of Waverly Place: Wizard School
High School Musical 2 • High School Musical: Encore Edition • Cory in the House: Newt & Improved Edition
Hannah Montana: One in a Million • Twitches Too • Silver Spoons: The Complete First Season • The Even Stevens Movie
Lizzie McGuire: Box Set Volume 1 • Phil of the Future: Gadgets & Gizmos • That's So Raven: Raven's Makeover Madness
Full House: The Complete Seventh Season • Home Improvement: The Complete Eighth Season
The Parent Trap & The Parent Trap II: 2-Movie Collection • The Parent Trap (1998) • Cow Belles

Related Interview:
Click to read our interview with Brenda Song, star of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and four Disney Channel Original Movies.
Brenda Song, star of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody"

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Reviewed July 1, 2008.