Prom

(2011)

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Review: Prom

Transcript for Review: Prom

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
When you’re 17, there’s nothing bigger than your senior PROM.  That’s at least what our first movie is saying.  I’m Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. 

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
And I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of mubi.com.  With a title as generic as PROM, you know that our first film is going to play by every little rule in the Teen Movie Playbook. Do the characters look more like college seniors than high school seniors? Sure. Is the protagonist an overachieving girl with an overbearing working-class dad? Naturally. Is she gonna be forced to work with a hunky bad boy who has a leather jacket, long hair and a motorcycle? You bet.


Clip 1 / Burning Down the Shed

IGNATIY:
Now, I know you’re probably wondering: is there a subplot involving a girl who’s afraid to tell her boyfriend that she’s going to a different college? Well of course.

Clip 5 / Y-E-S

IGNATIY:
What about some oddball supporting characters that spend the entire movie trying to ask someone out? PROM has them in spades.

Clip 3 / “If at first you don’t succeed.”

IGNATIY:
PROM isn’t bad per se. It’s just compulsively ordinary. The movie has a cast of largely likeable unknowns, but it follows every single teen movie cliché—even the ones that felt contrived in 1986—as though they were holy scripture. That, and the often belabored joke set-ups, kill any spark it might have.  Thumbs down from me.

CHRISTY:
I Kind of have to give it a thumbs up.  The earnestness of it grew on me and yes it is like some kind of extended version of some Disney channel sitcom and yes, they’re all types and you and I know that because we’re old and cynical, but if you’re 12…

IGNATIY:
I’m young and cynical.

CHRISTY:
You are both, that is true, but I’m vaguely middle-aged and cynical, but if you’re like 12 and you’re looking forward to going to prom someday, you don’t know that prom sucks, but if you’re loking forward to the glamour and fun of that magical night, it’s kind of exciting.  It’s like Citizen Kane for 12 year old girls I think.

IGNATIY:
You’re praising formula, not a film.

CHRISTY:
I’m praising the formula because it works for it’s target audience. And this is very similar I think to our favorite Juston Beiber movie in that we can’t view it through our own prism.  We have to look at it in term of who it’s aiming toward.  And these kids are going to love it.

IGNATIY:
I am amazed that Hollywood can construct a convincing looking teenage girl’s bedroom, you know get all of these details right.  Yet, they cannot design a convincing teenage girl.  There are…these people are not like real teenagers.  They’re like characters in a teen movie.

CHRISTY:
They’re idealized versions of what teenagers should be. I mean, hey nobody smokes or drinks in this high school, but it’s wholesome for younger kids and for families to feel good about sending their kids to.  It’s idealized and wholesome and I kind of like that.

IGNATIY:
Those families should send their kids to better movies.

CHRISTY:
But no, it’s guileless, it’s totally earnest and I think that’s kind of sweet about it.

IGNATIY:
I don’t think it’s totally earnest.

CHRISTY:
It absolutely is.

IGNATIY:
I think it’s just a product that fulfills certain needs.  The only satisfaction I think anyone can get from it, is knowing what’s going to happen next.

CHRISTY:
No, but the kids who it’s aiming towards don’t know that.  I mean we know that because we’ve seen these movies, because we lived through the 80’s or whatever.  For these kids it’s new and exciting and sweet and refreshing.

IGNATIY:
I think it’s so engrained into television and sitcoms that they’ll know it even if they haven’t seen the movie.