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Prom is standard Disney fare, and that's not necessarily a good thing. Disney movies are known to be, well, "Disney Clean." But when a film is swabbed down to the point of utter harmlessness, and it sugarcoats the nightmares and sadness some experience during prom, it ultimately becomes laughably unrealistic and a pale shadow of the real event.
There's nothing wrong with being all well and good, but the events in Prom are executed very poorly, the drama is handled in a fictitious way, and the overall result is calamity. Even the characters, mostly teens playing Seniors, when really, some appear to be Seniors in College, are almost walking mannequins who aren't given enough freedom to be themselves rather than just the stereotypes and the Disney bodies they are told to be. Hollywood is able to create a convincing high school premise, but they can't create convincing high school characters.
The story is almost an anthology series of a plethora of boys and girls getting ready for "that one special night" of prom. Prom is said to be one of the greatest nights in a teenager's life, and these kids are hellbent on that believing in that philosophy. The lead girl is played by Aimee Teegarden. She is the over-achieving high school girl who wants the Senior Prom to be perfect. She is paired with an incompetent, loner who is more interested in believing his own philosophy of "prom is just another stupid night" after all the original prom decorations burn in a fire.
Prom then continues spitting characters at you at rapid fire, and giving them their own set of problems. My favorite character was Luke, played by Nolan Sotillo. He is the shy and scarred kid crushing on the popular girl, and is waiting for the right move that never comes. He is a little like me in that sense, but even he can't escape the true high school formula for creating teenagers.
This film has everyone; the jock, the cheater, the scared girl, the persistent boyfriend, the geeks, the pretty girl, the over-achiever, the rebel, etc. All of which aren't convincing, and are poorly-drawn figures.
If John Hughes had handled the script, what would he have done? For one, not work with Disney. And two, maybe give some monologues which this film desperately needs, and maybe give the characters a greater personality rather than a stereotype. The story itself is very slim, but even being so small, it could've spawned a good film.
I always try to find the target audience in films, and it seems Prom is shooting below the bar. Seniors who will be attending prom will likely not be amused or even interested by such a film, and people around the age of eight will either not know what prom is or find the film by complete accident. It does a fine job at showing the very basic problems and events that go into such a dance, but still, if this had been made by any other company but Disney, it likely would've focused on more personal problems and more of the serious issues rather than just "what dress should I wear?" This isn't incredibly disgraceful film-making. It has heart, I'll give it that, but the reality is that this isn't reality. This is the fictional world we should live in but don't. Cheating is mentioned, but not focused on, every character takes the path they're expected, and many of the serious issues are taken in a brief and quiet manner. Again - standard Disney fare, but this time, Disney misses the target and the target audience.
Starring: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Yin Chang, Nicholas Braun, Dean Norris, Danielle Campbell, Nolan Sotillo, Cameron Monaghan, Christine Elise, and Raini Rodriguez. Directed by: Joe Nussbaum.
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