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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this energy-packed sequel to the wildly popular High School Musical presents a fairly sanitized view of teen life -- wrongs are righted in the end, all parties walk away friends, etc. -- High School Musical 2 also has plenty of positive messages about being true to yourself, following your own path in life, and valuing true friendship. Staying true to its squeaky-clean predecessor, the sequel spends more time on music than on making out (in fact, the only kisses come at the end and are very sweet), and there's really nothing here that's likely to concern parents of tweens.
What's the story?
When Troy is offered a summer job at a posh country club in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2, he gets his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), longtime buddy Chad (Corbin Bleu), and a bunch of other Wildcats hired there as well. Little does Troy know that the scheming socialite behind the job offer was snooty Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale), whose daddy owns the club and who has her summer sights set on snatching Troy out of Gabriella's arms. She tempts Troy with a flashy job, famous friends, and the promise of a college basketball scholarship if he devotes his time to her. Eventually he has to choose between this fast track to success and the person he knows himself to be.
Is it any good?
For fans of the first High School Musical, the sequel picks up right where the original left off, not missing a beat with 10 catchy new songs and improved choreography. A little extra maturity in the cast only increases the characters' likeability, and the slightly more emotional storyline (Efron even seems on the brink of tears during one sad scene) will win points with older viewers who may tire of teen issues being too easily resolved on TV.
There's no doubt that tweens will flock to High School Musical 2 like they did to the first, and, once again, parents can rest assured that there's nothing to worry about here -- unless you take exception to the movie's sparkling, sanitized view of teen life. There's no bad language, no violence, no drinking, and only one kiss (which, as in the original, is reserved for the end of the movie). Tweens who watch will be treated to positive messages about relatable issues like overcoming cliques, valuing friendship, being true to yourself, and standing up for what you believe in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media typically presents teen life in movies like High School Musical 2. Do you think people get an inaccurate view of teen life from the media? Why or why not?
Tweens: Do you find the characters and scenarios in this movie believable? Why or why not? Were any of the issues the characters faced similar to ones you've experienced? If so, how did you handle them?
Families can also discuss how this movie compares to the original. How have the characters changed since the first High School Musical? Which do you like better? Why?
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