Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Prom

From Carrie to She’s All That and beyond, prom has provided the climactic setting for so many movies that a film all about prom was inevitable. Simply titled Prom in the same way store-brand Rice Krispies get called “Puffed Rice Cereal,” this Disney-produced teen comedy takes place in the eventful days leading up to a suburban high school’s prom. Headed by Friday Night Lights star Aimee Teegarden’s turn as an overachieving class president and one-woman prom committee, the film’s sprawling cast of characters faces a series of bland crises on their way to a magical night beneath a dusted-off disco ball. As prom nears, their lives intersect in entirely expected ways as the film weaves a tapestry of heavily scrubbed teen life out of paper streamers and dull soundtrack cues. It’s the sort of film Robert Altman might have made if he cut his teeth working for The Disney Channel.
Actually, that makes it sound way too interesting. Apparently set in a pocket of suburbia where well-supervised afternoon cookouts have taken the place of parties and going out for malts still counts as a hot date, it’s a weirdly libido-less movie. That may be all its intended audience could handle, but surely even the young and gullible will see every plot development coming long before Prom’s characters do. When, for instance, Teegarden is forced to save prom from certain disaster by working alongside a surly (but hawt!) motorcycle-riding rebel (Thomas McDonell), it’s not hard to see that their sniping will soon transform into longing looks, etc., etc.
That would be a lot more tolerable if Prom brought even a hint of wit to that or its half-dozen or so other sub-plots: the longterm couple facing a decision, the boy who can’t get a date, and so on. Instead, director Joe Nussbaum (Sydney White), working from a script by Katie Wech, simply fills in the colors as the numbers demand and the cast seems unable or unwilling to do anything but hit their marks, whip out blinding smiles, and wait for the slow-dance happy ending.

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