Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bandslam (2009)

Director: Todd Graff
Starring: Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell, Scott Porter, Ryan Donowho, Charlie Saxton, Lida Kudrow, Tim Jo, Elvy Yost, Lisa Chung, J.W. Wright II, Blair Bomar, Casey Williams

Will Burton (Connell), a constantly bullied loner, takes solace in the world by writing a journal to his idol David Bowie. When Will's mother Karen (Kudrow) uproots their lives, again, to a new neighbourhood, Will is determined to not become the fool again. During lunch, he meets lone wolf Sa5m (Hudgens) - the '5' is silent - who introduces him to Bandslam, an annual music competition. Will is quickly pursued by another student, Charlotte (Michalka), who hires him to be her rock bands manager.

Fun but needlessly complicated musical for teens firstly succeeds with its casting of Michalka and Hudgens, two very delightful female leads, and the always cheerful presence of Friends star Kudrow. Take away the some of the wasteful plot devices and it does have the bearings of an uplifting coming-of-age story. However, the most upsetting aspect is the terrible recording of the soundtrack and lip-syncing which doesn't match and that's really it's most important part for succeeding.

Connell handles himself well, though he is drowned around a see of enthusiastic women. David Bowie appears as himself towards the end of the film, making this his final movie role. Graff, who also co-wrote the script, oversees things with the same amount teenage angst and naivety as his previous film, Camp. The soundtrack includes original songs performed, mostly, by the actors themselves, all with previous musical experience.


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