A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this High School Musical spin-off, which follows the character Sharpay after graduation, is what you'd expect from the squeaky-clean HSM factory. For parents who might have forgotten the details of HSM, Sharpay is a self-absorbed rich girl caricature, and even past graduation, she continues to drop names of designerwear and gets her daddy to pay for a whole month in NYC while she tries to make it big. But Sharpay grows up a lot here, realizing that she needs to balance making sacrifices to succeed with staying true to herself. She also overcomes disappointment in positive ways.
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What's the story?
After Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and her dog, Boi, sing and dance for a local crowd, a casting agent gives her his card and says he'd like to see her in NYC -- a Broadway musical called A Girl's Best Friend needs a star. So of course she's going to pack her bags and take Daddy's money to the Big Apple to give it a shot -- but then Daddy only gives her one month to succeed. Sharpay is a vision of confidence in pink ... until she gets to the audition, only to find out that it's Boi they're after, not her. After overcoming disappointment, she figures this could still be her big break, especially if she gets in good with the temperamental star, Amber Lee Adams (Cameron Goodman). Enter Duchess, Boi's big competition, who has a precocious 12-year-old owner named Roger (Bradley Steven Perry) who will try just about anything -- dirty tricks included -- to get his dog the part.
Is it any good?
If young viewers thought Sharpay's rich-daddy's-girl antics were fun in High School Musical, seeing her try to make it in NYC will also be a treat. The super-cute pups making eyes at each other is a bonus. Sharpay's film school romantic interest (Austin Robert Butler) also helps keep her grounded in a sweet way.
That said, the songs aren't terribly memorable, and the plot is predictable and derivative -- for five minutes you'll even think you're watching The Devil Wears Prada, then A Star Is Born, with big scoops of Clueless and Legally Blonde mixed in. And just about every dog movie ever made. No matter. That's what a spin-off is all about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what drew them to this movie. Was it the High School Musical pedigree? The cute pooch? Now that it's A Star Is Born-type story instead of a high school story, is it as fun? What other High School Musical characters would you like to see after graduation?
Sharpay puts an opulent lifestyle on display here, wearing fabulous outfits and lots of pink. Does it make her character more appealing? Does it make the brands of clothes and bags she mentions more appealing?
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