By Maureen Buccellato

Apr 28, 2011 09:34 AM EST

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Prom Theatrical Review

Disney "Prom" is a film made about -- you guessed it -- the Prom!  This squeaky-clean high school film is a breath of fresh air from the usual high-school- themed films that one sees nowadays.  Hokey?  Maybe, but it is nice to be able to bring a young girl to a movie without worrying about seeing alcohol or drug use and lots of sex.
 
The main character is Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden).  Nova is a straight "A" student, and chair of the prom committee.  She finds herself in a bind when all of her work (she, of course, has been hand crafting decorations) has literally gone up in smoke after a fire occurred where the decorations were being kept.  Since this is a huge task to tackle, the school principal decided that Nova could use some help -- ala the school's "bad boy", Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell).
 
While applauding Disney on trying to set a certain tone with it's first major motion picture by the new studio head, Rich Ross, Prom simply falls flat on it's face.  The story does a successful job modeling itself to the tone of such classics as Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Some Kind of Wonderful; although it simply lacks an element that all of  those films got correct…a soul. On the surface, all the ingredients are in place -- a cast of relatively unknowns that have chemistry, a certain amount of teenage angst, and a rite of passage event; but this fragile mix of ingredients that holds the film together falls apart upon closer inspection.
 
The cast, while handling their roles admirably, does not have much to work with. Each character is pretty much one-dimensional and is fleshed out a bit more than your typical Disney Channel show.  Instead of creating such a large ensemble of characters, if Prom had stuck to a core cast, they might have had more time to further convey the characters feelings to the audience.  Instead we are left with glimpses into the motivation of the characters aside from Nova and Jesse.
 
With Prom primarily directed at the female teen and tween-age audience, it offers counter programming for audiences that crave this type of film during the time of year of the summer popcorn films starting to run on the silver screen.  If you are looking for a return to the John Hughes high school films of the 80's, then your expectations will not be met.  However, if you are looking for a good time in a film that has a little more depth than the average Disney Channel show, then Prom is the perfect film for you.

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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 103 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures

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