Like HSM, but older and wiser

Like HSM, but older and wiser


Feel-good comedy Bandslam tells a coming-of-age story of teenage struggles and heartbreak in a highly relatable, realistic way.

Will (Garlan Connell) is the new dork in town. He's overwhelmed when popular girl Charlotte (Alyson Michalka) talks to him, and when she learns of Will's extensive musical knowledge, she persuades him to manage her band in the hope of winning the band contest, Bandslam.

Will soon meets and falls for the quirky Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgens). But just as he is ready to take on his new roles - best friend, boyfriend, band manager - his past comes to haunt him.

The engaging story, though predictable, is made convincing with the young cast's natural acting talents and the chemistry between Will and his onscreen mum Lisa Kudrow. Hudgens proves there's more to her than HSM's Gabrielle, but Sa5m's underdeveloped role hardly leaves her enough time to shine. Michalka's acting is fine, but it's her voice that really stands out.

The supporting cast is adorable, and the underdog band may not be cool, but you'll be rooting for them.

Visually, the teenage high jinx are beautifully captured in raw, grainy video footage. And the dynamic, climactic concert is better than many concert DVDs.

Bandslam is no School of Rock, but the performances more than make up for the lack of Jack Black-esque brilliance.



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