dir Joe Nussbaum
scr Katie Wech
prd Ted Griffin, Justin Springer
with Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, DeVaughn Nixon, Danielle Campbell, Yin Chang, Jared Kusnitz, Nolan Sotillo, Cameron Monaghan, Kylie Bunbury, Joe Adler, Janelle Ortiz, Nicholas Braun, Jere Burns, Christine Elise McCarthy, Dean Norris, Faith Ford
release US 29.Apr.11, UK 3.Jun.11
11/US Disney 1h43
Prom-night jitters: Teegarden and McDonnell (above), Sotillo and Campbell (below)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Prom As with High School Musical, Disney creates a vision of high school that will only appeal to pre-teens, as it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the real thing. Trite plots, cliched characters and simplistic moralising abound.

As prom night approaches, high-achieving event organiser Nova (Teegarden) is planning the perfect night of memories for the senior class. But her own plans are in jeopardy when she finds herself without a date and has to work with sexy bad boy Jesse (McDonell) to re-build the fire-damaged decorations for the event. Meanwhile, the jock (Nixon) is pursuing a sophomore (Campbell) who has a sweet admirer (Sotillo), and Nova's friend Mei (Chang) is nervous about telling her boyfriend (Kusnitz) that she wants to go away to university.

There are several other subplots gurgling around the edges, including a nice guy (Braun) who suffers through a series of embarrassing attempts to ask a girl to the prom and a gossip (Ortiz) who doesn't believe that the class clown (Adler) has a hot girlfriend in Canada. There's also a wronged girlfriend (Bunbury) and an ignored best pal (Monaghan), as well as a few concerned parents. But not one of these people resembles an actual teen, and even 8-year-olds will know where each plot is heading.

In fact, this film makes Glee look like a gritty documentary about the dark side of high school. Every plot point is telegraphed at least a half hour before it comes along, each character's personal journey involves discovering self-worth and inner confidence, and the villain of the piece is a guy who can't decide which girl he wants to date. Of course he's publicly humiliated at the end, even though he is probably more representative of adolescent emotions than anyone else on screen.

Everyone past puberty will recognise this film for the inane fantasy that it is; sadly, its target audience could grow up thinking that their own high school prom might actually be this amazing. They'll also expect to have these kinds of superficial relationships, perfect hair, super-fit bodies and no interest at all in sex. In other words, someone needs to stop Disney before they screw up yet another generation.

cert u some themes 8.May.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall