DVD: Prom

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

Directed by Joe Nussbaum. Starring Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Danielle Campbell, DeVaughan Nixon and Nicholas Braun, among many other teen/tween actors. 104 minutes. G

Prom has always been a much bigger deal in the movies than in actual high school life. So it comes as no surprise that Hollywood execs (at Disney, no less) jumped at the chance to make a movie wholly devoted (and named after!) it. What’s shocking however, is that unlike the actual event, which always brings tears and dress tears, Prom the movie, is actually a pretty good time.

This G-rated take on the supposedly life-changing and social barrier-breaking school-warranted party certainly isn’t the funniest entry in the genre (that would be Zapped!) or the most memorable (Hello, Carrie!).The story is pretty lame – several sets of American high schoolers (the overachiever, the misunderstood rebel, the couple, the homecoming queen and king, the awkward nerd, the freshmen boy BFFs … ) have mucho stressful moments while attempting to find dates to, well, you know. The writing also isn’t anything top grade. But it’s a definitely a feel-good weekday date. A well-meaning nerd type with a second date potential, if you will. Prom‘s personality may be a little bland, but it’s cute and it tries really hard to get you to like it, which kind of makes it cuter.

In the very same vein as the last High School Musical film (Senior Year), Prom is overly glossy , sentimental and long for what it is. But that film had leftover nostalgia, musical sequences and Zac Efron to go on. All Prom really has going for it is some semi-cute moments (cue the gawkward geek who can’t get a date to save his serial killer style collage-loving life) and two somewhat decent performances by mini versions of mega stars.
Aimee Teegarden, who plays Nova (What is this, Zenon: Girl, Not Yet a Woman of the 21st Century?), the head of the prom committee, looks and acts like a cross between Reese Witherspoon’s most Type A characters: Elle Woods and Tracy Flick. If only she had a bit more spunk. And Thomas McDonnell takes the rebel with a secret, adorable cause act to new plateaus with his okay imitation of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. Although, he does look a hell of a lot like a young Johnny Depp, which is never a bad thing.

These two anchor the otherwise free-running flick, which despite the frivolous, tux-trying on montage fun, can be confusingly frigid and as a result, false. There’s no after parties or virginity loss to speak of here. Yes, this is a Disney flick, but those things are just as much a part of the process as a taffeta dress and a first dance. Someone could have at least spiked the punch. B

EXTRAS: Bloopers, deleted scenes, seven music videos, a making-of featurette and a short, dubbed Last Chance Lloyd(Also available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack)

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