April 24, 2009 – The Disney Channel Original Movie Hatching Pete Premieres
“Let’s get this over with. No one knows it’s me. Just walk around, flap your wings, be generally annoying like Poole for a couple of hours, and go home.”
On April 24, 2009, the Disney Channel Original Movie Hatching Pete premiered. The movie premiered with 4.1 million viewers, one of the lowest openings for a DCOM in three years. The film was written by Paul W. Cooper, and was directed by Stuart Gillard. It stars Jason Dolley as Pete Ivey, Mitchel Musso as Cleatus Poole, Josie Loren as Angela, Tiffany Thornton as Jamie, and Brian Stepanek as Coach Mackey.
The film begins at Brewster High School’s basketball game, where the mascot is getting suited up for his big entrance. However, Cleatus Poole, who goes by “Poole,” is the worst mascot the school has ever seen, thanks to his allergy to the suit. His best friend, Pete Ivey, shows up at the game, only to once again be mistaken as a new student as he is extremely shy and introverted. Poole is aware that Pete has a crush on his sister, Cammie, and Pete is hoping to ask her out, but Pete fails miserably thanks to his shyness, and she is dating basketball team captain and all-around jerk Dill. Poole and Pete leave the game, both feeling rather dejected. Pete heads home and practices gymnastics on his home trampoline, displaying a natural talent. His father tries to give him a pep talk, and his parents try to get him to go to the game, although Pete refuses as Brewster has lost the last twenty games and doesn’t see the point.
Poole stops by before the game, and asks Pete for a favor: $500, and for Pete to be the mascot for the night. Pete refuses at first, especially after Poole brings up the story once again that it’s his family legacy to be the Rooster, which is why he can’t quit. Pete only agrees when Poole promises to put in a good word with Cammie. The game starts, with the rival team scoring right off the bat. Pete, in the mascot outfit, makes his way to the game and runs inside, although he is rather ungainly in the outfit. He tries to act like Poole, and ends up knocked to the ground by the rival team. As he decides to leave, he gets hit in the head with a basketball and flips on the ground. After getting injured, he decides to give people something to notice, following his dad’s advice, and begins dancing and flipping, entertaining the crowd more than the game. Pete heads to Poole’s after the game to return the outfit, but he can’t admit to Poole that he actually liked being the mascot.
At school the next day, students are congratulating Poole for a job well done at the game, although Poole has no idea as to why. Meanwhile Coach Mackey, who was kicked out of the game for unsportsmanlike behavior, tries to get Poole expelled for the antics of the mascot, but the principal says that that Poole stays, as he has better job security than the coach. In the locker room, Poole is about to get beaten up by the basketball team, but is begrudgingly saved by Coach Mackey, as the coach will be fired if there’s no mascot. Things get weirder when Poole goes to class and everyone applauds him, with Pete being pushed aside while Poole takes credit for Pete’s antics. Pete then starts working on the float committee for the homecoming parade with new girl and cheerleader Angela, and he starts crushing on her, even though she has a boyfriend back in Houston. Later, Poole stops by to ask Pete what Pete did at the game. Pete can’t describe what he did very well, but Poole wants Pete to continue as the mascot so he continue being popular. Poole decides to go to the game in disguise to watch what Pete does, and to be there in case of trouble.
Pete continues his antics while the game once again looks like a loss for the Brewster Roosters. At one point, Pete’s antics distract the opposing team long enough that the Roosters are able to score. Pete then picks up Angela and takes her out into the hallway, and although he successfully flirts with her, she thinks he’s Poole instead of Pete. At the end of the game, Poole congratulates Pete for a job well done, but Pete is still unhappy with Poole getting the glory for all of his work. Poole then tells Pete that Pete’s going to play “The Chicken” full-time, much to Pete’s discomfort. Finally, Poole talks Pete into staying the mascot. Pete and Angela start working on the float together, although she asks him a lot of questions about Poole, as she seems to be developing feelings for “The Chicken.” On the way to a game, the basketball players come up with a theory that it’s not really Poole inside the mascot outfit, which explains why he’d gotten better all of the sudden. Dill goes off to pull the mascot’s head off, revealing Poole, who lets out a huge sneeze. Once they reach the game, Poole quickly makes a switch with Pete, and Pete heads out of the court while a disguised Poole sits in the stands. Once again, Pete’s antics are more interesting than the game, but he also has an effect on the players, and they are able to score more points than usual.
At one point in the game, Pete saves Angela from getting accidentally hit by a player from the opposing team, but after Angela has been pushed out of the way, the player hits cheerleader Jamie, whom Poole has been dating since his rise in popularity. Jamie gets a bloody nose, and both Pete and Poole are worried that this could cause problems for them. Angela later thanks Poole for saving her, and Pete overhears their conversation, and stops Poole from kissing Angela. Later, Poole admits that he can’t keep up the façade, as he feels like a fraud, and apologizes for everything Pete’s gone through. Pete is terrified that he isn’t funny without the chicken suit, and tells Poole that he needs to continue being the mascot, at least until the parade. He then hears that Angela is missing, and goes to find her. When he finds her, he sees that she’s been crying, as she’s been dumped by her boyfriend via text message. The two begin to bond, and go back to build the float. At the parade, everyone cheers for “The Chicken,” while Poole hides in audience in disguise. However, Poole is pulled up onto the float to dance, and the ruse is half-revealed, as no one knows who “The Chicken” is. Pete flees in the sheriff’s car, with the whole town pursuing him.
Poole is taken in for questioning by the police as to the identity of “The Chicken,” but Poole refuses to say who the mascot really is. Poole finally admits to his father that he couldn’t be the mascot because he was allergic to the suit. His father admits that he was allergic to the suit as well, and wished he had the courage to quit like his son. Meanwhile, Pete flees to his house and hides the chicken suit in his car. As he walks along the road, Angela stops him and asks him who he thinks “The Chicken” is. He asks if she really wants to know, and she says that she might, but she worries that once the mystery is gone, then the attraction to him will be gone as well. Poole stops by to talk about their next steps, but Pete is furious that Poole ruined everything. Poole decides to that they should retire the mascot, but Pete is unsure. At the next game, everyone is hoping the mascot will show up, but are sorely disappointed when he doesn’t appear. All the fans leave the game when it’s revealed there is no mascot, and the basketball team loses once again. The principal then has Coach Mackey announce to the entire student body that “The Chicken” needs to return, as everyone needs him.
At the next game, however, Pete doesn’t come back, especially when he overhears the cheerleaders saying there’s no way Pete could ever be the mascot. However, he does make an appearance on the school’s news program to explain why he decided to call it quits. When he explains why he won’t take off his mask, comparing himself to the Lone Ranger, Angela realizes that Pete is the mascot, as she was the one who told him the same reason why she didn’t want to know. Poole tries to convince Pete to go to the game, but Pete’s afraid people will stop liking “The Chicken” when they realize it’s just plain old Pete Ivey inside. At the Roosters’ final game, the team is scared to play without “The Chicken,” but they summon up a little bit of courage to play. However, true to form, the Roosters play miserably, unable to score a single shot. At one point, the lights in the gym go out, and “The Chicken” appears in the rafters before flying down onto the court. Encouraged by his appearance, the team is ready to win the game. Finally, everyone wants to know who is underneath the mask, and Pete decides to reveal his identity. Angela runs off to help him get his mask, revealing that she knew it was him. Everyone cheers for him, and he resumes his duties as the mascot as the team works on securing a victory, their only victory for the season. In the end, the Roosters win the game, and everyone rushes the court excitedly while Angela and Pete share a kiss.