By Gary Murray
Starring Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell and DeVaughn Nixon
Written by Katie Welsh
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Running time 105 min
MPAA Rating PG
Selig Film Rating Cable
I didn’t go to prom, never wanted to go to prom and had no inkling to cross the threshold of balloons that symbolizes prom. I was a band member/rocker and had tickets to Journey that night. The concert date was set and my tickets were bought even before the school announced the date of the Senior Prom. Besides, none of my school friends were going to prom. It was just seemed to be a way too expensive party for the jocks and cheerleaders, not for a band geek like me. I mean, we were going to JOURNEY! So, I have no idea how accurate Prom the movie is. Since it is made by Disney, it is in no way going to be like American Pie,
The film runs like a teen version of a soap opera. Everything takes place with a very large cast a few weeks before the Brook Side High School Senior Prom. The head of the prom committee is Nova (Aimee Teegarden), the valedictorian who believes that their “Starry, Starry Night” Prom is the most important event of the last four years. She is one of these ‘nose to the grindstone’ girls determined to have everything perfect.
A fire happens and all the decorations are destroyed. The administrator punishes local bad boy Jesse (Thomas McDonell) to help remake all the decorations. He thinks that prom is just a silly little party, a chip firmly attached to his shoulder. As these two work together, they find common ground and a romantic spark. And Nova has no prom date.
Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon) is the man to be Prom King and his favorite gal who is to be Prom Queen. She suspects that he is cheating with a sophomore Simone (Danielle Campbell). Simone has also caught the eye of another player on the lacrosse team.
We also get the set-up of changing relationships as kids plan to go to different colleges in the fall. Prom will be the last night for love before they part ways. Then, there are minor stories like Rolo (Joe Alder) who may or may not have a smoking hot prom date from Canada. The entire exercise is a bunch of safe little adventures where everything turns exactly the way expected.
The film is going to be like Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dazed and Confused in one aspect. People will look back years from now and be amazed by some of the major Hollywood talent that debuted in Prom. With this large of a cast, some will break out and become household names in the future.
Aimee Teegarden shows that girl next door quality while still carrying the major acting role of the film. She is funny and sad, with a dash of quirky. Thomas McDonell plays the bad boy, motorcycle riding minor thug deftly while still keeping his boyish charm. He is the face of the movie Prom, the poster guy that young girls will have pinned to their ceiling. He is the Judd Nelson Breakfast Club guy.
If one were a betting man, the safe money would be for Danielle Campbell to break from the pack and establish herself as a major find. This young woman just sparkles every moment she is on the screen, looking like an A-list star in the making.
The problem with the film is two-fold. First, it is way too long and way too slow. The movie moves at such a plodding pace that it feels like a three hour marathon. Second, with so many cast members, individual stories lose their impact. By trying to include everyone in Prom, no one gets a fair shake story-wise. By doing too much, the film accomplished little.
Prom the movie is like Prom the event—something never made for me. This is a chick flick, an early teen, Tiger Beat style of film. While those youngsters may enjoy it, it will be a slow water torture for the parents. This is not a John Hughes film, never destined to be considered a classic. It would come as no surprise that it is turned into some kind of Disney Channel series.