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kicking up a fuss since 1997 | by maryann johanson

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Bandslam (review)

It’s official: rock ’n’ roll has been tamed. It must be if Walden Media (see: the Narnia movies), the movie company known for its family-values agenda (that is, one that adheres to the stereotypical narrow ideas about what constitutes both “family” and “values”) is taking it on. That’s how you get a rock ’n’ roll movie this calculated for sweet, feel-good blandness. And not the rock ’n’ roll kind of feel-good, either, unless you think the Jonas Brothers rock hard. Instantly forgettable but inoffensive, this is the tale of misfit teen Will Burton (the Shia LaBeouf-esque newcomer Gaelan Connell), who moves to a new high school that isn’t quite so much like “Guantanamo with a lunch period” as the old one, makes new friends, and starts managing a high-school band in preparation for the titular competition. Adolescent bumps in the road are struck, of course, but all the would-be excitement here is contrived and melodramatic, and painfully earnest at that — blame writers Todd Graff and Josh A. Cagan; Graff directs. Isn’t it suspicious that golden-girl cheerleader Charlotte (Aly Michalka) would hang around with the likes of Will? Will he learn to love the “eccentric” Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgens: High School Musical 3: Senior Year) — the “5” is silent — and she him, even though she mopes that “emotion is overrated”? Take Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, delete all the raw pain and uncomplicated joy, and this is what you’re left with. It’s not awful, just awfully dull.


MPAA: rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • JOrdan

    You should probably actually watch the movie “BEFORE” you review it.

    It’s not a great movie but it is good. At least worth 3 stars. But you would know that if you actually went to see it.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    JOrdan (Fri Aug 14 09, 1:40AM):

    You should probably actually watch the movie “BEFORE” you review it.

    It’s not a great movie but it is good. At least worth 3 stars. But you would know that if you actually went to see it.

    viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

    MaryAnn doesn’t review films she hasn’t seen, JOrdan.

    Luckily, I do: there is literally no way in hell this movie is any good.

  • MaSch

    Then why is it a yellow light instead of a red one?

    Wait, I guess it’s because the movie is too bland to venture into red territory, right?

  • bonnie

    Your review skills are extremely lacking.

  • bonnie

    Not saying you’re wrong about the movie, having not seen it, but I suppose I’m use to a different style of critiques.

  • Brian

    I don’t know what more you are looking for, bonnie, but this review tells me everything I need to know about this movie. Actually, the last two sentences of this review tell me everything I need to know about this movie.

  • Alli

    Oh noes. The 13-year-olds are after you now MaryAnn.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    MaSch (Fri Aug 14 09, 3:26AM)

    Then why is it a yellow light instead of a red one?

    Wait, I guess it’s because the movie is too bland to venture into red territory, right?

    Well, I dunno. My “review” has nothing to do with MaryAnn’s. I think she kinda thought it was okay, maybe? Hard to say, I didn’t read the review. ;)

    No, I was just pointing out that MaryAnn has indeed seen the film, and then I tried to stir things up a bit with some vociferous negativity, despite knowing that JOrdan won’t ever stop by to read my response since she’s probably just a studio bot (the movie didn’t even come out until today, after all).

  • MaryAnn

    It’s yellow because it’s not terrible, just not very adventurous. If I had a tween, I wouldn’t mind him or her seeing this, but I do wish it were sharper than it is.