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Prom?

Prom. Whether that word makes you think back fondly at your youth or cringe in disgust, it will always elicit a reaction and amusing anecdote.

Disney’s latest live-action movie, “Prom,” is about … well … a high school prom. It follows several different students on their paths to the big event.

There’s Nova, class president and all around over-achiever, who’s responsible of the event and Jesse, the too-cool-for-school bad boy with a heart of gold, who’s ordered to help Nova with the decorations. Plus, Tyler and Jordan, the most popular couple in school and a shoe-in for king and queen. Mei and Justin have been in love since 6th grade and have their entire futures mapped out. Then there’s Simone, a sophomore who dreams of getting asked to the exclusive senior-only soiree. And finally Lloyd, a loner with no date and no prospects.

The cast is filled with stars from Nickelodeon and Disney shows that I’m sure the tween audiences would recognize. I didn’t know a single one of them so I won’t bother listing their names.

“Prom” has been met with abysmal reviews. Seriously, Nell Minow of the Chicago Sun-Times called it, “Less engrossing than a Clearasil commercial and more synthetic than a Rebecca Black video.”

Ouch!

Okay, it’s cliche-ridden and more predictable than a Nancy Meyers rom-com, but it’s not that bad.

If you’re expecting something edgy or a real-life depiction of high school, this isn’t the movie for you. It’s a Disney movie about prom. Of course it’s sweet and glossy and idealized. Tom Horgan, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune described it best as, “pure bubble gum, from its shiny wrapping to its mushy insides to its fleeting aftertaste. And sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with chewing bubble gum.”

Like real prom, this movie had its moments. For instance, a disillusioned Lloyd comparing prom to the Olympics, “You wait four years, three people have fun, and the rest live on with shattered dreams.” Or Nova’s sense of satisfaction when a nearby high school steals her prom theme but their posters are in black and white and hers were full color. (Honestly, what were they thinking?) And I was impressed by how many creative ways there were to ask someone to prom.

Apparently you can’t just ask someone, “Will you go to prom with me?” No, you need a big romantic gesture with the question “Prom?” spelled out in rose petals or post-it’s.
I went to see “Prom” for the same reason I listen to Taylor Swift and keep a Scooby-Doo poster on my wall – it’s just fun. Being a grown-up is hard and it’s nice to revert back to your 12-year-old self every once and a while. Even if it is only for a couple hours and a bad movie.

By the end, after hearing the bad music, getting over the date drama, and seeing the pile of discarded heels against the gym wall, my sense of nostalgia is achieved and I can go about my day. “Prom” isn’t great. Honestly, it’s not even that good. But it could be worse.

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  1. Pingback: The Commuter: Vol. 42 « Art in the Rye Design - June 18, 2011

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