Bandslam

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:PG
  • Director:Todd Graff
  • Cast:Gaelan Connell, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Lisa Kudrow, Alyson Michalka
  • Release Date:August 13, 2009
  • Distributor:Hoyts
  • Running time:111 minutes
  • Film Worth:$10.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Though not entirely naff, this teen film’s casting of Vanessa Hudgens is clearly an attempt to get High School Musical fans on board, but overall this is a charming effort.

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Charlotte (Alyson Michalka, of Phil Of The Future notoriety) is a high school songstress continually let down by the muppets in her garage rock band. But when new boy Will (Gaelan Connell), who has a fine ear for power chords, arrives in town, Charlotte engages him to help take her rock outfit to the next level, and perhaps viral superstardom. In truth, Charlotte mostly wants to blow her narcissistic ex off the stage at Bandslam, an event described as "Texas high school football big". The nebbishy Will improbably ends up having his heart pulled between Charlotte and Sa5m (yes, that is a 5 - though we're reminded repeatedly that it is silent), played by Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens' casting is a naked ploy to lure in fans of the High School Musical franchise, and given its crooning-high-schoolers storyline, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Bandslam is a patched-together retread.

The director, however, isn't just a naff hired gun - it's Todd Graff, who made the hilarious and soulful Camp. He's nimble at working on a more airbrushed canvas here, and his ability to sculpt hummable tunes and contagiously silly set pieces is obvious.

This is another film for young people, which apes the look and feel of user-generated viral content - it has an important plot point involving You Tube and, in at least one extended sequence, puts mobile phone footage centre screen. It gives the film a currency and texture familiar to young audiences, but also seems an ironic way to cut stylistic wings when telling a story on the big screen.

For the teen demographic that this film is designed for, Bandslam is an able, lustrous and charmingly performed jaunt that will slake appetites until High School Musical 4.

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