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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (review)

It’s not Grease — the hundreds of six-year-olds screaming at an ear-piercing decibel at the screening I attended is an excellent indication of how much younger the High School Musical franchise skews. But Disney’s move to the big screen for its third installment is also an excellent indication of how enormously popular the movies are… and with good reason. All these all-singing, all-dancing high-schoolers are downright adorable, and without being annoying about it, either, which is perhaps the series greatest achievement, that even the anti-schmaltz, anti-bullshit cynic that I am does not want to strangle each and every one of them — I want to hug them. When I was in high school, I’d have been hiring hitmen to take out the likes of Troy Bolton (Zac Efron: Hairspray) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens: Thunderbirds): he’s a star basketball play and a star of the school’s drama program; she’s genius-level brilliant and the other star of the drama gang; they’re both gorgeous and popular and nice, which clearly would have marked them for death. Oh noes! How will they tolerate being separated after senior year, when she goes to Stanford and he goes to the University of Albuquerque? Which of their fellow stage students will win the coveted scholarship to Julliard? Perhaps bursting into song at regular intervals to express their adolescent angst will help! Yes, the songs themselves are simplistic, at best, but they are catchy, and the accompanying choreography is, I must admit, dazzling. Basketball as dance? Pretty darn brilliant.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated G

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

official site | IMDb

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