COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 51min

STARRING: Vanessa Hudgens, Aly Michalka, Gaelan Connell, Lisa Kudrow

He’s with the band: from left, Hudgens, Connell and Michalka

Worrywart Will Burton (Connell), social reject, retro music buff and David Bowie acolyte, is cooler than he knows (plus salty cracker Kudrow is his mum!). He is also resigned to his non-status — until a move to New Jersey and a new high school become the bend in the road he needs. There are two dishy girls involved: Hudgens as bookworm Sa5m — the five is for effect, sigh — and Michalka as cheerleader turned renegade Charlotte. Then there’s Bandslam, a tri-state rock contest that scores the winner a record deal. Martin Van Buren High already has a hotshot outfit raring to play. So when ice-cream cool Charlotte recruits Will as manager of her fledgling band, he has eight weeks to lick it into winning shape.


If the fired-up numbers and sassy kids don’t put a smile on your dial, you either need to get out more or you don’t remember how it was back when. Film-maker Todd Graff outstays his welcome lengthwise — we’re in teen America, guys, not Mother Russia. But this is still a high-school movie with class.