“Good Luck Charlie” gets in the Christmas spirit with original movie

By Stacey Harrison

The cast and crew of Good Luck Charlie have gone through a lot together, but up till their most recent stint, that hadn’t included leaving the comforts of their Los Angeles studio.

That all changed early this year when they headed north for a wintry Utah location to film Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas! In the festive flick — which premieres tonight at 8 on Disney Channel — the Duncan family embarks on a family vacation that despite everyone’s best intentions quickly turns positively Griswoldian, as the family becomes separated and must race to reunite before they miss the chance to celebrate the holidays together.

Bridgit Mendler, who plays oldest daughter Teddy, says the movie takes viewers on a “wild ride” reminiscent of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Planes, Trains & Automobiles. It was definitely an expedition for the actors, who not only had to film in new locations, but also had to adapt to a completely different way of shooting.

“The script wasn’t set up like our episode scripts where there’s a buildup to a joke and the joke’s delivered and the audience laughs,” says Mendler, who also helped write the song “Run to You” for the film. “There’s no [live studio audience]. We have to play the scenes a lot more real or straightforward, which was an interesting thing for the characters because they hadn’t been out of the sitcom world. I had fun with it, and I hope people enjoy the way it comes across.”

Filming just after Season 2 of the show wrapped, Mendler also says there was no problem as far as the cast getting sick of each other.

“Oh, please, no. We love spending time with each other,” she says. “It was a cool experience because we got to be with each other on something like a vacation. You see different sides of people, and we’re already like a family so it’s just like going on a real family vacation.”

Photo: © 2011 Disney Enterprises, Inc. Credit: Craig Sjodin