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(2011) ** Pg
104 min. Walt Disney Pictures. Director: Joe Nussbaum. Cast: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, DeVaughn Nixon, Danielle Campbell, Yin Chang.

/content/films/4211/1.jpgThe trouble with Prom—for those of us who think there is one—is that it's not likely to appeal to the age group it primarily depicts. Like High School Musical, the audience of which Prom obviously covets, this PG-rated Disney dramedy seems to be preaching to the tween choir, not the high-school senior class around which the story revolves. As such, it's a training-wheels movie, indoctrination of young'uns to the idea that prom is for everyone. While that's great for the tux and prom dress industries, it makes for a marshmallow of a movie: sickly sweet with an artificial consistency and a distinct lack of nutrition.

That said, Prom is a movie about which it's difficult to feel much of anything, including revulsion. It has the lovable guilelessness of the family dog, and parts of it achieve a genuine warmth. Though most seniors will be "too cool" for this rather dorky "school," they might actually see themselves in Katie Wech's screenplay, in students that are nervously excited for prom, stressed out by the academic crunch (or checked out of it), unsure of how or if they'll score a date, or troubleshooting strained relationships. One of the film's storylines deals forthrightly with an issue teens face every year right around prom time: what to do with a relationship that's staring down graduation and, with college, potential geographic separation? That's the question facing Mei (Yin Chang) and her boyfriend Justin (Jared Kusnitz), and it might have made for an interesting movie, but alas, they're relegated to subplot status.

Front and center is perfectionist class president Nova (Aimee Teegarden), who finds herself solely responsible for prom (and running out of time) when an accidental blaze destroys the carefully prepared "Starry Night" decorations and the prom committee defects to AP studying. Lucky for Nova, "bad boy" Jesse (Thomas McDonell) runs afoul of the principal (Jere Burns), who promptly sentences Jesse to prom duty—or else no graduation. Everyone knows that opposites attract—everyone, that is, but Nova and Jesse, who take a couple of reels to figure it out. Meanwhile, we meet the rest of the high-school ensemble: socially awkward Lloyd (Nicholas Braun), narcissistic football captain Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon) and his popular girlfriend Jordan (Kylie Bunbury), socially mobile sophomore Simone (Danielle Campbell) and her dweeby classmates Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) and Corey (Cameron Monaghan of Showtime's Shameless).

It's clear that Disney was hoping for a new franchise from Prom, with sequels that could be accomodated by the sophomore crew (junior ball and senior prom?). But Prom was pretty much a non-starter at the box office; its squeaky-cleanliness will seem more at home in its inevitable cable afterlife on the Disney channel. But if there's nothing very artful about director Joe Nussbaum's film, at least it could be comfort food for some teens at a time when there's little that's sure in school, life, and love. And if the movie amounts to a commercial for the prom industry, there are worse things: the idea that prom is a special night is less of a myth than the one propogated by most romantic comedies.

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Aspect ratios: 1.78:1

Number of discs: 2

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Street date: 8/30/2011

Distributor: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

/content/films/4211/2.jpgProm's high-def photography naturally looks spiffy on Blu-ray, which accurately renders its details, textures and color scheme. Properly calibrated contrast and rock-solid black level contribute to the handsome image. The picture is ultra-clean and pretty much entirely free of compression artifacts (save for a bit of skyscape banding). Prom's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix gets the job done, but the limited source material doesn't put any great demands on either the track or your sound system: dialogue comes through cleanly, music kicks in nicely, but it's mostly a front-and-center aural experience.

The Blu-exclusive short "Last Chance Lloyd" (10:19, HD) compiles the complete story of Lloyd Taylor (Nicholas Braun) attempting to score a prom date.

Making-of featurette "Putting on Prom" (5:59, HD) swiftly surveys the cast and screenwriter Katie Wech about the film. Also provided are "Bloopers" (2:32, HD) for the film and four BD-exclusive "Deleted Scenes" (7:44, HD) with intros by director Joe Nussbaum and producer Justin Springer.

Last up are seven BD-exclusive "Music Videos" (24:16, HD): Allstar Weekend's "Not Your Birthday" (3:30), Neon Trees' "Your Surrender" (3:55), Moon's "Time Stand" (3:12), Nolan Sotillo's "We Could Be Anything" (3:59) and "Juntos Lo Haremos Bien" (3:57), Those Dancing Days' '"I'll Be Yours" (3:26), and Girl in a Coma's "Come On, Let's Go" (2:15).

The Blu-ray + DVD edition includes a DVD copy with the feature, "Putting on Prom" and the "Bloopers."

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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