MRR Movie Review: Prom

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"Prom" is a 2011 Disney film which follows a group of teenagers as they ready for their big high school dance. Starring Aimee Teegarden, Nicholas Braun, Thomas McDonell, Dean Norris and Danielle Campbell.
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Movie review: "Prom"

-- Rating: PG (Mild language and a brief fight)
Length: 104 minutes
Release Date: April 29, 2011
Directed by: Joe Nussbaum
Genre: Drama and Comedy

"Prom" can be described as a drama/comedy film about some teenagers about to attend their high school prom. Describing the film in one sentence, however, does it great injustice. "Prom" is probably the only movie with producers brave enough to break from the traditional Hollywood portrayal of prom night as an appalling ordeal. In this movie, prom night is treated with solemnity free from the irony the tradition often attracts in other different films.

The movie chronicles the final week leading up to Brookside High School's senior prom. Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) is the class president and the prom night's chief organizer. She is also an unrelenting champion of her school's spirit and is determined to ensure that nothing goes wrong on this auspicious day. Prescott is incensed by the fact that, wherever she looks, guys are devising ingenious ways of asking their potential dates out. This is appalling to her because the boy she is interested in, Brandon Roberts (Jonathan Keltz), doesn't quite view her in the same light. Roberts is just interested in carpooling with her, and even this isn't a big deal according to him. Unfortunately for her, a fire razes down all the props and decorations for prom.

The school principal forces bad boy Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell) to assist Prescott in salvaging the situation. Richter has been told to work on reconstruction of the prom props as a punishment for his truant behavior. As would be expected, the two are almost the exact opposites and cannot stand each other. Seasoned movie fans will recognize this as a prelude to romantic interest between the two.

This romantic storyline is only one of many subplots in the film. Simone Daniels (Danielle Campbell) is a beautiful girl who cannot bring herself to choose between two guys with a crush on her. Senior Tyler Barso (DeVaughn Nixon) is romantically involved with both Jordan Lundley (Kylie Bunbury) and her lab partner Lucas Arnaz (Nolan Sotillo). There is even a subplot involving senior Mei Kwan (Yin Chang) who lacks the courage to inform her boyfriend Justin (Jared Kusnitz) that she is traveling out of state for her college education. Apart from these numerous subplots, the film also incorporates several gags in its story.
If there is a moment in the life of every teenage American student that is filled with a lot of expectations, contradictions, and disappointments, it is prom. The fact that it is practically the last party for high school seniors and marks the beginning of college life (and by extension adulthood) is just one of the sources of these contradictions.

Most of those who have watched the movie say that it grows on you, as at the beginning of "Prom," one gets the feeling that it is a bit innocuous, but it slowly becomes an after school trifle with a heart of its own. Viewers get the message that prom isn't as significant as most people think it is.

"Prom" is essentially a Disney drama focused on the craziness and heartache that normally surrounds a high school prom night. Some critics have said that the movie was intended to be 2011's "Valentine's Day."

The story is told in the vein of fourteen different intersecting stories. The screenwriting was done by Katie Wech, and she succeeded in many ways. For once, she gave each of the characters adequate screen time as she did not want to give undue advantage to the lead character. The film was tightly written and the chemistry between the ensemble cast members is clear to all viewers. The characters might be a bit predictable but nobody can say that "Prom" is based on an oversimplified story since it has more to offer than teenage squeals and giggles.
Some suggest the film is puritan because it takes place in Disney's clean dimension. This might be true since "Prom" lacks the messier parts of high school life that many films in this category tend to include. All the students drink soda pop and it seems as if no student has a sex life.

The "Prom" is mostly targeted at teenage girls around the age of sixteen. The movie will offer a safe and easy escape for this audience into the world portrayed in the movie. It is clear that the screenwriter intended it to be family-friendly, a feat she obviously achieved.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars