Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jane's Review: High School Musical 2

by Jane Louise Boursaw

Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: G
DVD Release: Dec. 11, 2007
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Family, Teen
Runtime: 111 minutes
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Cast: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel

The teen fun continues in this sequel to 2006’s “High School Musical.” School’s out, and the gang spends the summer working at the Lava Springs Country Club, owned by Sharpay’s parents. But things get awkward when Troy tries to further his career by hanging out with the rich folks. Gabriella says she doesn’t know him anymore..sniff… It’s Disney, though, so you can count on a happy ending, along with loads of catchy new songs.

Sex/ Nudity:
Mild flirting and a few kisses.
Violence/Gore: None.
Profanity: None.

Which Kids Will Like It?
Kids 8 and older who loved “High School Musical” or who enjoy innocent teen movies or Disney Channel shows.

Will Parents Like It?
Yes. As with “High School Musical,” there’s very little objectionable content here. All issues are resolved, and lessons are learned about the importance of friends, staying true to yourself, and standing up for what you believe in.

Special Features:
This “Extended Edition” includes a sing-along feature, rehearsal cam (watch the dance rehearsal footage along with the movie), High School Karaoke (sing the lead vocals with help from optional on-screen lyrics), music videos, and a never-before-seen music sequence.

Riffing off the 2006 tween fave, “High School Musical,” this sweet flick brings back the entire cast for more songs and fun. School’s out for the summer, and Troy (Zac Efron) needs to build up his college bank account. So Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale), hoping to score some points in the romance department, gets him a job at her family’s posh country club.

Imagine her chagrin when Troy manages to score jobs for the rest of the East High gang, including girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), buddy Chad (Corbin Bleu), and Gabriella’s friend Taylor (Monique Coleman).

Snooty Sharpay realizes she has to kick it up a notch. So she tempts Troy with influential friends, a coveted basketball scholarship, and a fast-track to the high life. Troy’s torn between his dreams for the future and his high school friends. It doesn’t help when he gets preferential treatment from the club manager (Mark Taylor).

Ok, so the storyline probably bears little resemblance to real teen life. No drugs, sex, bad language, or gang warfare in this movie – and that’s a good thing! What a pleasure to watch an innocent movie that still has plenty of teen angst and clique issues.

The songs and choreography are even better than the first movie, including the high-energy opener, “What Time is It?,” Troy and Gabriella’s duet, “You Are the Music In Me,” the hip-hoppish “I Don’t Dance,” Troy’s golf-course solo, “Bet On It,” and the ensemble finale, “All For One.”

My 10-year-old daughter particularly loved Sharpay’s poolside tune, “Fabulous,” and Gabriella’s tearful “Gotta Go My Own Way.”

Disney Channel fans: keep an eye out for Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) as an extra!

Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance journalist specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at www.ReelLifeWithJane.com or email jboursaw@charter.net.

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