I will always remember… going to my own prom with one of my good friends. She asked me because I had originally asked her to go to another dance and she already had plans (not to go). So alas, there we were at the Little America drinking water, punch, or whatever it was, but the funny thing is, the one thing I remember most was dancing with one of my best guy friends, Matt Mabey. It’s funny, the things you really remember, isn’t it? Maybe it’s because the two of us have been friends since elementary school but who knows. All I know today, is that after this weekend’s opening of the new Disney film Prom, there won’t even be one lasting memory from anyone unfortunate enough to suffer through it.
I’ve mentioned several times in past reviews that taking my glasses off while sitting through a film is the one way my wife can tell I have had it with a particular film. Prom managed to make it to the 35-minute mark but that was surely pushing it. Another way I can tell whether I’m thoroughly enjoying or absolutely loathing what’s happening onscreen is whether I take any notes. Sometimes I'll write an entire review in what looks like a manifest of complaints. Granted, I may not be the target audience for a film like Prom, but if this is what today’s generation of pre-graduates considers their benchmark then I just can’t help but feel sorry for what they’re being spoon-fed by Hollywood.
Prom apparently wants to be the Valentine’s Day of the season. However, that may be giving the film more credit than it deserves. Prom follows along a huge group of teenagers as they all fall into the traps of trials, tribulations, and ultimately, clichés, as they get ready for prom.
Brookside High School is no different than any other; you could take a checklist from any John Hughes film, or any high school film at that, and find everyone rightly in place. From overachiever Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) to bad boy Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell), wannabe lacrosse jock Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) to star lacrosse varsity jock Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon). There’s also the Say Anything Lloyd rip-off (Nicholas Braun), but this guy is no Dobler, that’s for sure.
The film tries to keep track of at least fifteen characters, none of whom have a real character arc; you can see their comeuppances foreshadowed the minute they’re introduced. It’s literally as if a cast of transparency sheets were thrown in front of the camera. Meanwhile, director Joe Nussbaum and writer Katie Wech (making one of the least charismatic screenwriting debuts in a long time) keep throwing around the question, “Prom?” to which the audience may simply wind up shrugging their own shoulders thinking the same thing.