Bandslam (PG)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner13/08/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

An enjoyable teen comedy with likeable characters, a witty script, strong performances and some great tunes – this is the film the High School Musical movies should have been.

What's it all about?
Directed by Todd Graff, Bandslam stars newcomer Gaelan Connell (who looks like a cut-price version of Shia LaBeouf) as bullied teenager Will Burton, who's delighted when his mother (Lisa Kudrow) announces they're moving towns and vows to be cooler at his new high school. His wish quickly comes true when he's taken under the wing of school hottie Charlotte (Disney popstrel Aly Michalka), who asks him to help get her band into shape for the upcoming Bandslam competition, where she's hoping to defeat her annoyingly popular ex-boyfriend (Scott Porter).

Since he was roundly ignored at his previous school, Will is duly dazzled by Charlotte's kindness, attention and general hotness, but he also finds himself falling for his quirky, book-obsessed study partner Sa5m (“The five is silent”), played by High School Musical graduate Vanessa Hudgens.

The Good
The performances are excellent, particularly Aly Michalka, whose perky personality (and general hotness) is extremely appealing. Connell's a little dopey in the lead, but he has good chemistry with Hudgens, who gets to display some impressive comic timing and is allowed to be a lot sexier here than she was in the High School Musical movies.

The witty script is superb, with sharply drawn, likeable characters that, crucially, actually listen to the sort of music kids genuinely like rather than the bland, studio-dictated rubbish you normally get. Similarly, the band themselves are also pretty good and the climactic musical numbers are very catchy.

The Great
On top of that, the film neatly side-steps several of the usual cliches and delivers a decent message without ever being preachy and patronising or resorting to sickly-sweet sentimentality.

Worth seeing?
With a strong script and characters you can actually relate to, Bandslam is a hugely entertaining, frequently funny and emotionally engaging teen flick that's a far cry from the plastic-packed blandness of the High School Musical movies. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Bandslam (PG)
Be the first to review Bandslam...
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 20/08/2018 09:23

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films