Thursday, May 5, 2011

TWEENAGE DREAM

Some of the faces are familiar, but Disney's PROM fails to deliver genuine experiences. It's too busy neutering cliches and parading them around in formalwear to be bothered. But just as the characters promised, it was a night to remember.


I hope that by now you've quelled your fake surprise, and are as comfortable with the fact as I am that of course I went to see Disney's PROM. Despite not knowing any "details" about it beforehand and recognizing only one actress, I figured this would be my kind of fun trash. I knew it was inevitable that I'd see it opening weekend...and see it I did.

One of the biggest failings of PROM is that it's a movie about teenagers, made for tweens. This isn't about what high schoolers are like, this is what the middle school kids are imagining it's going to be like, before hormones have taken over. What this leaves the audience to deal with are cliches from nearly every high school movie that came before it...but none of the fun from any of the films in the John Hughes sub-genre.

You see, I understand and love movie teenagers. They're zany, unpredictable, and make entertainingly bad decisions. But these are "real" teenagers, and that's just not as fun. But wait - what's up with the disembodied head of an Asian girl in the image above, you ask? Oh, that's just vintage Yin Chang, next to her character in PROM. And Yin Chang is, of course...


I'm pretty sure the strongest reaction I had during this entire film was the incredible moment when I realized that the former Gossip Girl minion was now playing "Mei Kwan". Spread your wings, Yin! But find your awesome glasses first.


About a third of the way in, I realized that Nelly Yuki/Mei Kwan's boyfriend was also someone vaguely familiar. He's the head "Shmitty" from Community's season one episode "The Art of Discourse", wherein Jeff & Britta verbally spar with obnoxious visiting high schoolers (aka "The One with Lisa Rinna's Lips").


Even when PROM gets it right, they also kinda get it wrong. The bad boy love interest (Thomas McDonell) of the lead gal (Aimee Teegarden) is pretty hot - long hair and all - but I really couldn't divorce myself from the idea that he looked so much older than her. Which makes his wooing not only sad, but also a little gross.

I have to give the film credit where credit is due, though - I learned something! It taught me that I definitely didn't take my own prom seriously enough back in high school. I was all 'bout it back in the day, but the lesson being jammed into my skull for 1 hour and 43 minutes was that this one formal dance is a truly mystical event. Cliques don't matter! Grades don't matter! You get to be whoever you want! All the kids talk about prom like it's some kind of cult masquerade party. There are about 17 other main characters each with their own subplots, but trust me when I say that ultimately - none of them are important. Even with the utterly exhausting running time, when it was over I didn't remember any students' names from the Whatever High School Class of 20___.

But against all odds, I will never forget this movie! It could be because of the adorable little LatinaHobbit with big dreams. Or more likely, because I learned that Osama Bin Laden had been found/captured/killed...while I was watching a PG-rated movie. Trust me, I didn't see it coming either.


PROM 
Walt Disney Pictures 
disney.go.com/disneypictures/prom 
Written by Katie Wech, Directed by Joe Nussbaum

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