Movie Review: Bandslam
For a movie about a tri-state high school battle of the bands Band Slam has way too many late twenty-somethings and thirty year-olds playing teenagers. The lead actor, Gaelan Connell, could easily be mistaken as Shia LaBeouf’s genetically-challenged little brother and the lead actresses are both Disney Channel properties, Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical 1-3) and Aly Michalka (Phil of the Future). The story is formulaic and full of pieces borrowed from much better movies. In fact, it could quickly be summed up as “What if the Disney Channel decided to make their own version of SCHOOL OF ROCK?” Hey, why not? It was pretty successful for them when they did it with GREASE to make the High School Musical series.
Only Band Slam isn’t a Disney movie. It was made independently here at Austin Studios and with everything negative I’ve said about it (there’s plenty I’ve left out)…it’s still a likable little movie. Gaelan Connell makes ‘Will Burton’ a very charming schlub. And even though Vanessa Hudgens is thoroughly unconvincing as a perpetually depressed, semi-goth chick, Aly Michalka has more than enough personality to carry nearly 40% of the movie.
It’s a rare teen comedy that manages to be just as funny as all the others without resorting to vulgarities or gross out humor. Imagine a clean- cut rock’n roll fantasy (sounds like an oxymoron already) aimed at tweens, where musicians learn to play songs together in moments and everyone gets second chances- except this time it’s one that you wouldn’t mind sitting through with your kids.
What did the rest of the crew think?