A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The band learns to put aside personal preferences to work together as a group, rehearsing day after day to meet Will's goals for them. Charlotte espouses her philosophy about doing what scares you most in order to confront your fears, and Will does just that, overcoming his shyness to meet new people.
Positive Role Models
Will is a good model of commitment -- to both goals and friends. He's true to his mother, Sa5m, and the band. The relationship between Will and his mom is sweet and realistic. Charlotte, although at one point a pretty negative role model, redeems herself in the movie's final scenes.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ongoing flirting between a few characters leads to a "practice kiss" between Will and a friend -- and later between Will and the girl he wants to date. A high school senior thinks Will's mom is "hot" and eventually plants a surprise kiss on her. A couple of kisses among the Bandslam crowd.
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Mild language includes "idiots," "oh my God," "morons," "nerds," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Brands visible include Apple (Mac notebook and iPod), Twizzler, California Pizza Kitchen, Coke, Wikipedia, MTV, CBGB, and several other NYC tourist stops. Many musical acts are mentioned or played prominently throughout the film.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this music-filled high school flick stars tween favorites Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Michalka,so expect interest from kids familiar with their Disney projects.Although it's rated PG and doesn't have any drinking/smoking, violence, or strong language, the movie deals with a few mature themes-- like bullying, an absentee father, a chronically ill parent, and the ongoing quest for high school status. Be prepared for a few kisses, too (although nothing gratuitous), and product placement from the likes of Apple/iPod and Coke. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Todd Graff's last film, Camp, was a delicious look at musical theater-buff teens, so it's not surprising that Bandslam (which is a good deal tamer than Camp) is such a charming little movie. Connell is perfectly cast as an adorable music geek -- and the fact he's not Zac Efron is part of the charm (Hudgens, after all, isn't playing Gabriela here). The movie makes you believe that young women as beautiful as Hudgens and Michalka would find Will attractive.
For parents who dig rock -- from classic to punk to indie -- Bandslam offers an amazing soundtrack, although not all the songs in the movie made it onto the official playlist. There's a recurring David Bowie joke that frames the story (Will writes him confessional emails), and in every scene at least half a dozen bands are discussed or played -- too many to count. The music (and Will's love for it) is what fuels the film, and whether it's Bowie or CBGB punk or the high school band Will pretentiously names I Can't Go On, I Go On, it all rocks.
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Our Editors Recommend
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