Review: High School Musical

2006 (USA)
Director: Kenny Ortega
Viewed: July 31, 2008
Format: DVD - Disney (2006)

B - Okay, get the teasing done now. You over there, I know you have a smart-ass comment to make about this being posted on a “serious” film blog. Go ahead. I’ll wait. And the oh-so intellectual Disney-gentrification-of-culture comments? Finished? Good.

As a childcare professional who works primarily with school aged children, I have seen this movie many, many times. I’ve seen the sequel. I’ll watch the threequel one too. Why? This is good, age-appropriate entertainment for my students.

Age-appropriate being the key words. Much of so-called “children’s entertainment” has a much older sensibility than is necessary to keep a child’s attention. Ten-year-olds making out, high schoolers who have cup sizes bigger than Jenna Jameson and cars most lawyers can’t afford–you get the idea. This movie has fairly realistic-looking and -acting kids in it. Albeit kids who frequently break into song and dance, but put yourself in the musical mindset here, folks.

“Soft and fuzzy” doesn’t begin to describe the harmlessness of HSM, but it’s good clean fun. The music is catchy (oh, I know the words to most of the songs), the kids in the movie are attractive without being anorexic, sweet without being vomitrocious, and while it’s obviously not Shakespeare, they’re okay actors too. None of them show any cleavage, none of them talk like criminals, none of them do drugs, or make any suggestive sexual advances. And I’ve seen all of that in so-called “family entertainment.” I’m no prude, but if you’re advertising family fare, it should actually be appealing and appropriate for children.

I’m not going to add this to my personal collection of films or anything, but if it’s a group of nine- to eleven-year-old kids I want to entertain, I put this movie in the player (with the “sing along” bouncing ball option on) and relax. Nothing objectionable, nothing offensive–and it has a fairly decent “be yourself” message for a Disney flick. And then I sing along. This is a kids movie that does not suck.

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