One and a half stars (out of four)
Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language.
Who’s going to like it: High School Musical fans, teens, kids who “think” they know good music, and douchebags

It’s like Almost Famous for a High School Musical audience

Even though I didn’t particularly like Bandslam, there’s one really good thing to come out of it – it’s the type of teen movie that will finally turn all of the High School Musical kids straight again. Dancing is 100% absent and the music to is actually heterosexual (although they try being way too “cool” with some of the obscure bands mentioned).

The story is simple: a nerdy out-cast kid moves to a new school, makes friends with student musicians and acts as their manager while they try winning Bandslam – an American Idol-esque competition for high-school-age bands. Although the style of filmmaking and storytelling is comparable to those of good indie flicks, many major plot points are typical, unoriginal and manipulative. The bad outweighs the good and makes it worth suffering through.

Gaelan Connell, who plays the central character Will, does a decent job with his role. But there’s no way that he could carry a film on his own. The secondary characters make this movie bearable to sit through. High School Musical‘s Vanessa Hudgens plays Will’s odd romantic interest, Sa5m (pronounced “Sam” – the 5 is silent). Although Hudgens is required to sing throughout this film, she shows that she might also have a good acting career head of herself. She breaks the HSM mold and has a few scenes where she really shines. And along side Hudgens’ great supporting role is Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow as Will’s single mother, giving her best performance to date.

Bandslam is a forgettable movie. Nothing original or creative drives it. Many element feel as if they were stolen straight from Cameron Crowe’s 2000 Academy Award winner Almost Famous, then bastardized while mixed with High School Musical moments. There are far better options of movies to see this weekend over Bandslam. The only people who should see this movie are those going to catch the premiere of the new Twilight trailer that’s attached and guaranteed to run with each showing.

Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

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