11 May

Title: Prom
Joe Nussbaum
Writer: Katie Wech
Aimee Teegarden, Nicholas Braun, Dean Norris, Danielle Campbell, Cameron Monaghan, Christine Elise, Raini Rodriguez
MPAA Rating: 
PG, mild language and a brief fight
104 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
Rotten Tomatoes: 

Prom stars Aimee Teegarden, so just because of that it was on good terms with me prior to me watching it, since Friday Night Lights is my favorite television show of all time and now that it has ended I’ll take any chance to see any of its castmembers in anything I can get. But, I mean, you just can’t expect all that much from a live-action Disney movie named Prom, you know? It’s title and studio pedigree will give away from the get go every single thing that will happen in it, and they will indeed happen, and you know it’ll be all sorts of wonderfully clichéed. But, for my money, even though Prom isn’t really all that good, it was quite better than I what initially expected from it.

Prom faithfully follows its generic playbook line by line, which was to be expected all that more when you consider director Joe Nussbaum is the guy that crafted the similar and similarly family-friendly Sleepover and Sidney White, but I will praise the fact that even though everything here is corny and predictable, and the build-up to the big prom dance is a total bore, at least the film goes down relatively easily and by the end you’ll realize that even though it wasn’t the greatest film experience, Prom grew on you.

And everything that makes Prom feel so predictable and, at times, dull, is actually what makes Prom one of the rarest movies out there. And that’s the fact that it’s actually an innocent movie. Yes, we get PG-rated films nowadays, but they’re mostly either animated or based on little kids. Very few times do we get PG-rated movies in which the characters are teenagers on the verge of going to prom, not even your most wholehearted TV series or films with kids these ages are as charmingly innocent as Prom is, and the fact that the cast can sell that innocence so well is quite commendable. Ms. Teegarden especially, her acting isn’t on display here like it was in her role as Julie in Friday Night Lights, but she plays Nova, our lead character, impeccably well and makes her, the virgin that has no prom date, a human character which often isn’t the case when we see these roles played out.

She’s part of the prom committee though, and as it so happens there’s this bad boy at school who she’ll obviously fall over but he obviously hates prom but he’s obviously forced by school authorities to join the committee and help her out. Yes, everything here is pretty damn obvious, but still, it works for what it is. And, again, that’s because of the actors. Ms. Teegarden gives Nova a believability to her that’s endearing and Thomas McDonnell, who plays bad boy Jesse, will get obvious comparisons to a cheaper version of a younger Johnny Depp and actually plays the part real well here, ditto with Nicholas Braun who plays the nerd of the movie and does so will real nice comedic timing.

So count me amongst the ones who kind of liked Disney’s Prom, I didn’t mind that no one spiked the punch or that somehow not one teenager swore, we’ve seen that too many times and this earnest take on the topic was actually somewhat refreshing. The sort of film that’s just all about the dreams of high school kids and how magical prom is and how the bad boy had a heart underneath it all. I liked that, I thought it was kind of cool just knowing that Nova would obviously get along with Jesse and eventually they’d fall for each other, and I liked knowing how all the other couples we’re introduced to here would obviously overcome their communication mishap to turn out just fine at the end.

I’m definitely not Prom‘s ideal target audience, which is why I probably won’t give it a higher grade, but I do appreciate when a film is so decidedly wholesome because even those that try to be nowadays many times end up sacrificing some of their ideals along the way, and that’s just not the case with Prom. This film is family-friendly in every aspect, even the guy that’s the school’s stoner who would have been a much more marked figure in other films is appropriately PG-rated, you see him being super chill and funny, but nothing more.

So yeah, I’ll give this one a strong C+, but if you’re a pre-teen girl, who’s still a couple years away from going to your prom and are still idealistic about that whole ordeal, then my guess is that this film will play real strongly to you. The film is totally charming in just how incredibly innocent and overly-sweet it is, and how it doesn’t try to be too cool or anything, and it has a cast full of really nice people who do their best at the roles they are given, and as such the result is one that even if you’re not a pre-teen girl you’ll sure be able to appreciate it, if not fully embrace and like.

Grade: C+


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