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Movie Review: Prom

April 29, 2011

Prom – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

Release Date: April 29th

Rated PG for mature theme

Running time: 103 minutes

Joe Nussbaum (dir.)

Katie Wech (writer)

Deborah Lurie (music)

Aimee Teegarden as Nova Prescott

Thomas McDonell as Jesse Richter

DeVaughn Nixon as Tyler Barso

Danielle Campbell as Simone Daniels

Yin Chang as Mei Kwan

Jared Kusnitz as Justin Wexler

Nolan Sotillo as Lucas Arnaz

Cameron Monaghan as Corey Doyle

Kylie Bunbury as Jordan Lundley

Joe Adler as Rolo

Nicholas Braun as Lloyd Taylor

Raini Rodriguez as Tess Torres

©Walt Disney Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.  Photo by Richard Foreman Jr.

Jesse Richter (Michael McDonell) and Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) in Disney’s Prom.

Our reviews below:


Prom Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Director Joe Nussbaum’s Prom is a Disney take on the ancient high school ritual, interweaving the lives of several teenagers as they get ready for the big night.  It’s a fine movie for kids, but I should give full disclosure up front that I’ll always remain partial to the great high school movies of the 1980’s, so a squeaky-clean version of prom that’s written for tweens appears slight by comparison.

Our story starts with the overachieving 17-year-old Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) getting ready for her high school’s upcoming prom.  When the elaborate decorations are lost in an accidental fire, the rebellious and motorcycle riding Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell) is brought in to help her get the school ready for the night of all nights.  But before Nova can choose a dress, a relationship starts to develop between the two initial rivals.

Right down to side characters like the John Cusack-inspired Lloyd Taylor (Nicholas Braun) who just can’t find a date for prom, the actors all have an appealing screen presence and there are some small pleasures here for adults as well.  Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonell nicely handle the leading roles, but the characters aren’t always written in a way that rings completely true to high school seniors.

The problem is that Prom doesn’t really extend an invite to those who would actually be old enough to actually be thinking about high school graduation.  The film is thoroughly predictable and the innocent view of high school fails to fully hold the interest of adults.  I’m not saying everything needs to have an ‘edge,’ but it’s not entirely believable that these relationships would never go past a simple kiss and punch is the drink of choice at a party.

On one hand we almost want to admire the film for not being written by a committee and offering such an innocent look at teenagers.  It should also be noted that Prom is perfectly agreeable entertainment for kids in the 8-14 range.  But the party just isn’t as much fun as it could have been and stays on a touch too long for those above a certain age.


Prom Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

Prom centres around the plot of students at an Alabama highschool getting ready for their big prom night.  High-acheiver/class president Nova (Aimee Teegarden) is in charge of the big event, but when all of the supplies and decorations get accidentally destroyed three weeks to the event she has to work with Jesse (Thomas McDonell) who’s been ordered to help as part of his detention.  We also follow other students, and much of the rest of the plot revolves around the not overly suspenseful question of ‘who’s taking who to the prom?’

It’s alright for what it is and exactly what I expected from the trailers, but it’s still a film that relies almost solely on attractive leads partaking in a pretty standard storyline.  Not many surprises here, but Prom is sure to be enjoyed by those preparing for their graduation into highschool – as in grade 8 prom.  It’s those who are ready for the prom at the end of 12th grade that are going to feel a little old for this squeaky-clean Disney film.


Prom Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Prom is an innocent and family friendly Disney comedy about one important evening – the high school prom.  The movie follows several teens as they get ready for their big night, asking that special someone to go with them.  The plot is centered around Nova (Aimee Teegarden), a high achieving girl who is organizing the event.  All the decorations are ready, but when a teenage couple accidentally sets the storage shed on fire, a slacker named Jesse (Thomas McDonell), is falsely accused.  He is forced to work with Nova on repairing the decorations, if he is to graduate.

Along with Nova and Jesse, Prom focuses on other charming characters, such as a sophomore named Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) who has fallen in love for the first time, a nerdy boy named Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) who can’t seem to get a date, and class clown Rolo (Joe Adler) who claims to have a secret girlfriend in Canada.

While Prom won’t really engage anyone over a certain age, it is a fun movie for the preteen to middle school girl demographic.  With very little language or bullying and no sexual content, it gives a refreshingly clean look at high school and adolescence.  I would recommend this movie to families with girls in the 8 to 14-year-old range.


Prom Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

As the voiceover opening the movie says, “high school divides people into groups, prom brings everyone together.”  That’s the whole focus of Disney’s Prom, several teens focusing on making that most special of nights be the best night ever.

Nova (Aimee Teegarden) is the school’s overachieving top student.  She’s the head of the prom committee and it’s her job to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  When the starry-night themed decorations go up in smoke, Nova is forced to team up with the school’s bad boy, good-looking Jessie Richter (Thomas McDonell) to rebuild.  The big question is, do opposites attract and will Nova end up with a date to the prom she’s worked so hard on?

Prom revolves around teen couples such as Mei (Yin Chang) and Justin (Jared Kusnitz), and Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon) and Jordan (Kylie Bunburry).  Also involved are several singles including Lloyd (Nicholas Braun), Lucas (Nicholas Sotillo), Simone (Danielle Campbell) and Rolo (Joe Adler) who want to be coupled with somebody for prom night.  There are several scenes – some funny and some sweet – of ‘the big ask,’ individuals trying to secure a date for the big night.  My favourite ‘asker’ has to be Lloyd who’s clueless and over the top with his invitations.  His eventual prom date is a sweet choice.

Nothing original or brilliant happens in Prom.  Couples fight, break-up, get together.  Single girls gush over the prom posters and sigh over who might ask them.  The special dress gets chosen (watch for the expected trying on dresses montage) and eventually a nice time is had by all.

Prom is a nice enough movie, especially for 8-14 year old girls who like to dream about what prom will be like.  The acting is decent and for the most part they look their age.  The language is clean, there is no sexual content or offensive material.  Parents can feel safe sending their kids to see Prom.  As someone who went to her prom many years ago, I found this to be sweet even if unoriginal.


Prom Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Prom is a Disney take on the high school senior rite of passage. In other words you can expect a well crafted story with attractive characters free from any suggestion of alcohol, drugs, smoking or sex beyond friendly kisses, that no one beyond middle school will take seriously–as far from American Pie (also about a prom) as you can get. Aside from the fact that the star jocks in this Michigan town play lacrosse rather than football, the usual stereotypes are covered.

The overachiever Nova (Aimee Teegarden) is forced to cooperate on prom decorations with apparently cynical slacker Jesse (Thomas McDonnell), with predictable results. Though encouraged by his freshman half-sister Tess (Raini Rodriguez), bright and sweet but awkward Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) is having trouble finding a date. Braun reminds me of both a young Harlan Williams and the young John Cusack (also as Lloyd) in Say Anything, the latter resemblance possibly intentional.

Mei (Yin Chang) is afraid to tell her boyfriend that she is moving away to college. Rolo (Joe Adler), the class goof, boasts to incredulous friends about the awesome date he has lined up. Prom queen Jordan (Kylie Bunbury) may be jealous if she finds out king Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon) still has eyes for sophomore Simone. Simone’s lab partner Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) has a crush on her, forcing his buddy Corey (Cameron Monaghan) into the background. By the way, Lucas and Corey have their own amusing spinoff webisode miniseries (with Apple Prom trailers) covering Corey’s own crush on a coworker during their summer internship at a community cable station, that could lead to a Prom sequel once the current senior class goes off to college.

Director Joe Nussbaum (who apparently also directed one of the direct-to-disk American Pie sequels, with none of the original cast) keeps all the stories moving along well enough with a decent combination of comedy and drama for the target audience.


Consensus:  Although Disney’s Prom has an appealing cast and will be enjoyed by those looking for an innocent view of high school prom night, the simplistic storyline is predictable and won’t be entirely engaging for those above a certain age.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. cat scratcher permalink
    May 11, 2011 12:31 am

    I saw the movie tonight and yeah it is predictable, but in a sweet way. I really enjoyed it! Although I am slightly biased because I’m a sucker for Disney movies 🙂
    PS Could anyone give me the quote that Nova says at the end of this movie? It would be much appreciated as I am late handing in my grad write up and I think it would work well. thanks 🙂


    • May 11, 2011 11:28 am

      Glad you enjoyed the movie. Nothing wrong with having a bias towards Disney films, they’ve had some genuinely good stuff over the years…

      As for the quote, I had a quick look around and can’t seem to find it anywhere. Which is odd, as IMDb has them for the majority of films. The trailers have some nice quotes from Nova, so I’d suggest watching them again and seeing if anything catches your ear. If not, perhaps you could find an appropriate quote from another high school movie?

      Hope this helps, and best of luck on your graduation write up!

      -John C.


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