BLU-RAY REVIEW: Prom
Drama abounds on the most perfect night of the year...
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Don’t try to adjust your computer; you’re still on Figures.com and yes, this is a review of Disney’s film Prom. Why choose this movie to review? Well, a lot of teen-targeted media these days actually has really good writing and production value thanks to companies realizing how much money kids command. And then there’s the fact that I know a bunch of people who worked on Prom! But I’ll try to remain impartial. Released in theatres earlier this year, Prom comes to Blu-ray and DVD this week.
As with most new releases, the Combo Pack is the best way to go with Prom. With an outer sleeve to protect it, the heavy duty Blu-ray case features a group shot of the ensemble cast, along with a series of “photograph” stills from the film at the bottom. The back panel continues the theme with five more stills, a brief recap of the plot, and a breakdown of the discs’ contents.
I’ll give you three guesses as to what Prom is about, and the first two don’t count. Yes, it’s that time of the high school year and the seniors of Brookside High are all in a flutter. The film intercuts between several distinct plotlines. Straight-laced A+ student and prom committee chair Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden - Scream 4, Friday Night Lights) must deal with the accidental loss of the event’s decorations early on, being forced to rebuild everything with the help of slacker bad boy Jesse (Thomas McDonnell, who I’m told resembles a young Johnny Depp). Hapless romantic wallflower Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) hunts for a date with his sister’s help, while high school sweethearts Mei (Yin Chang - Gossip Girl) and Justin (Jared Kusnitz - Secret Life of the American Teenager) must deal with a threat to their relationship. Meanwhile, well-meaning Ali (Janelle Ortiz) worries that Rolo’s (Joe Adler) girlfriend may be imaginary, and Simone (Danielle Campbell) anchors a complicated love quadrangle with Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon - Hard Times of RJ Berger), Jordan (Kylie Bunbury), and sophomore Lucas (Nolan Sotillo).
The young actors do a good job with the material, believable as students in their highly dramatic situations. The racially diverse cast is made up of lots of beautiful people, though again it’s Disney so don’t expect any skin. There were some very funny scenes, and even I have to admit that a handful were really emotionally powerful. Interestingly enough, for all of the upstanding students in Prom, parents are few and far between, only showing up in a few key scenes.
Director Joe Nussbaum (Sydney White, American Pie Presents the Naked Mile, George Lucas in Love) bounces back and forth between the different storylines, keeping the pacing moving while each progresses. The finale naturally takes place at the dance itself, a beautiful set that you see evolve throughout the movie. Since it is a Disney film (and rated PG), certain things are given. First off, by the end everyone has learned a lesson, and even the harsher ones make characters grow. Secondly, despite all of the high school drama, there’s not a single mention of sex. I shouldn’t have been surprised at that, what with all of the sex on “teen” TV (ever watch any show on ABC Family?), but it does make the film seem a little like it’s set in a parallel dimension. Because of this, Prom will more naturally appeal to younger audiences, and for parents there are plenty of good discussion topics that will come out of the movie without the more adult stuff.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack has some fun extras, especially the short “Last Chance Lloyd” documenting the character’s entire quest for a date. There’s also the general featurette “Putting on Prom,” no fewer than seven music videos (the soundtrack includes Weepies and Shout Out Louds), bloopers, and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray specifically has Dolby sound, DTS Surround Sound, and subtitles (English, French, Spanish).
If you’re in the mood for something light and syrupy sweet, you could definitely do worse than Prom. If you’re a parent or aunt/uncle of a tween, this one might be right up your alley. It has humor and what kids think of as drama, but in a nice-looking, innocent package that won’t offend anyone’s sensibilities. Prom is available everywhere now (the Combo Pack is MSRP $39.99).
Review by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Disney