Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bandslam (2009)

I've not been on line since last weekend since I've been looking after some young visitors -- girls aged six and ten -- which is the only conceivable explanation why this film is being reviewed. Having exhausted a host of other activities meant to be of interest, since rain was forecast for today, going to the pictures seemed the best option. But what a rotten selection of kiddie movies from which to choose: G-Force (even in 3D) sounded disastrous, Ice Age 3 only had early AM showings, GI Joe just didn't seem the smartest choice, which left the above film which at least the elder of the two wanted to see.

OK it was hardly original or great, but it had the odd amusing moment and the girls thought it was pretty groovy. Meant as a breakout role for Vanessa Hudgens after the three High School Musical films, she was actually the second lead to another Disney alumna Aly Michalka. (No, me neither!). The main role was taken by one Gaelen Connell, a chinless wonder, who has left his old school in Cincinnati where he was something of an outcast because of a dark family scandal and who has now moved to a new school in New Jersey with his divorced and protective mother, Lisa Kudrow. He is a knowledgable music buff and can't believe his luck when a gorgeous senior student asks him to listen to her band which she has formed with two real geeks. He makes various constructive criticisms and improves the band's performance by drafting in a drummer, two classical musicians for keyboard and cello, and three brass players from the school's marching band. Together they practice for the forthcoming competition of the title for the best school band in the greater New York area.

Hudgens plays a gothlike classmate for whom he begins to feel romantic stirrings and it is up to her to step in as the band's singer when Michalka leaves them high and dry (It was all part of a do-gooder bargain with God which didn't pan out for her). SPOILER HERE (not that I think any of my readers will be rushing out to view this adolescent fantasy): they do not win the contest, but in this internet age someone posts their performance on You Tube and they become a runaway popular success, and Connell's idol, David Bowie may even offer them a recording deal. This feature movie was only one step away from another made for cable Disney film, but it was a harmless afternoon's entertainment -- especially if you are a six or ten year old girl!
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