In “Prom,” a group of students prepare for the last big dance of high school. Unlike most other teen comedies, this story is clean family fun that both teens and pre-teens will likely enjoy. The plot, while superficial, is also highly watchable and filled with likeable teens who are trying to make their prom night a memorable one.
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“Friday Night Lights” star Aimee Teegarden plays Nova Prescott, a senior who is enthusiastically organizing the big dance. Prescott hopes that the prom will be a night that both she and her classmates will remember forever. After a mishap early in the story, she discovers that all of her prom decorations have been ruined and she has to start over. Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell), the school’s bad boy who doesn’t care about prom, is inevitably forced to help work on the decorations with Prescott.
In addition to those two characters, “Prom” features a large supporting cast who are all interested in what happens on prom night. Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) is interested because he needs to find a date to it. Mei Kwan (Yin Chang) is interested in going with her boyfriend but can’t concentrate because she’s keeping a secret from him. Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) may be too young for prom but he’s interested in the prom because the girl he likes is planning to attend it with her two-timing boyfriend.
The plot is as trivial as it sounds and there are plenty of corny moments leading up to the big event. However, the story has a lot of heart, which makes up for its many flaws. Instead of focusing on teens using drugs, having promiscuous sex, or suffering from severe emotional problems, “Prom” focuses on the innocence of being young and the promise of having a great time at prom.
The movie’s weakest storyline is the main one with Richter and Prescott. It seems inevitable that these two characters will end up together. The story even goes so far into cliched territory that it features Prescott’s disapproving father, who doesn’t want his daughter socializing with a rebel like Richter.
The strongest characters are in the supporting cast. Lloyd, for one, stands out for his unique approaches to asking girls out for prom. Many of his attempts misfire but it’s difficult not to root for his optimism in the face of such disappointment. Two other supporting characters stand out: Lucas and his best friend Corey (Cameron Monaghan) who love to quiz each other on music lists. These friends spend their time asking each other questions like, “what are the five worst band breakups of the past decade?”
“Prom” isn’t a great movie but it doesn’t try to be one. It settles for being a likable Disney movie about kids who are interested in what happens on prom night. This is a solid but unspectacular family film about students preparing for their big night. It’s innocent fun that both parents and teens can enjoy.