Prom is the province of 17- to 18-year-olds, but Prom the movie is pitched at a much younger audience - the tween set that wants only to sigh over which way that dreamy boy will pop the question, or whether to go sequins or ruffles (or both!) with the dress.
And sigh they will: At a sneak screening, a gaggle of girls emoted loudly with every near-miss at a closed-mouth kiss. Honestly, I don't know how this Disney film didn't net a G rating; maybe it was the film's brief peek at the "bad boy" brooder in a wife beater that tipped it into PG country?
Friday Night Lights' expert sulker Aimee Teegarden wipes clean her signature sullenness as Nova, the straitlaced prom-planning chair, and the rare character to warrant a full-blooded portrait in this ensemble built on stock types - the baller, the space cadet, the virginal music geek. On the subject of the ungainly but hyperarticulate wallflower named Lloyd (Nicholas Braun), Cameron Crowe and John Cusack should consider a joint defamation suit.
Nova has a romantic notion of prom, and it's hard to argue with the pure-heartedness of her mission to bring together disparate cliques for a night to remember, even as the film is comically myopic about the real confusions and conundrums attending that storied night. That, disappointingly, is the only cause for laughter here: Prom is too sanitized to mine any high jinks from the fertile ground of modern teen life and too feckless to get into the messy, embarrassing stuff that shapes character and makes for the real nights to savor. These are boys and girls on their very best behavior, which doesn't sound like any prom you or I remember.