Walt Disney Pictures has spent a lot of time figuring out how to magically morph the traditional expectations for a children’s movie into something a little more witty and magical that appeals to a wide variety of audiences. Unfortunately, the expectations aren’t of the same caliber with the company’s teen fodder. Disney’s Prom plays the same note throughout. Though the prom may have been an event that most of us attended at one time or another, it doesn’t mean we need to be on board this time.
Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) is a woman who desires to do things well. As senior class president and prom enthusiast, she is responsible for decorations at her school’s Starry Nights-themed dance, and she plans for them to be epic. Set to head to Georgetown in the coming fall, Nova is goal oriented even in her decorating; she’s an overachiever who is only failing at one thing: finding a prom date.
Finding a date is a common theme in Prom. Convinced to go out with a bang by his wise little sister, senior Lloyd Taylor (Nicholas Braun) tries asking multiple women to Starry Nights, to little effect. Senior Tyler Barso (DeVaughn Nixon) is having a similar problem, but only because he’s playing too many women to woo one properly. Lucas Arnaz (Nolan Sotillo) would love to take a date to prom, but without the ability to buy a ticket, he’s just another sophomore having trouble competing for a date with the fickle Simone (Danielle Campbell).
Even with the histrionics, Nova and her crew manage to get together the prom decorations and figure out the final details for the night. Yet, just when plans are perfected, a romantic evening between Tyler and his main squeeze leaves behind a burnt-down barn replete with charred decorations. Feeling prom is a lost cause, most of the student body is willing to forsake the event in favor of partying, studying, or after-school activities. Nova refuses to accept this and begins re-planning all by her lonesome. Until she needs help with the hanging and the heavy lifting. Enter resident bad boy Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonnell), who quickly decides to avoid harsher punishment -- for bringing a motorcycle onto school property -- in favor of helping Nova.
Teen melodrama might not be the easiest starting point, and an ensemble cast is certainly not the easiest. Even so, Prom has none of the characters, side plots, or other quirks that could possibly endear a teen event movie to a wide audience. It does have all of the clichés, and a couple of really nicely designed prom dresses (Nova’s and Simone’s were made just for the film). If we were looking for the familiar, Prom might be the perfect afternoon respite.
If we are looking for anything else, we would be hard pressed to find it. At the end of the day, Prom doesn’t fail because it is bad, it just loses most audiences because it is woefully, undeniably adequate. Sometimes when a movie strives for new ideas, those ideas don’t work out. However, when a movie never bothers to attempt at least a couple of memorable moments, most of us will be left feeling like we’ve been stood up at the dance.
Prom is pretty great if you need to maneuver to a different language. As soon as the Blu-ray disc loads, a screen pops up asking for your language preference. The menu is pretty cluttered, but it is still easy to find the bonus features. Overall, the disc isn’t as nice as a lot of Disney releases, but maybe that’s because it lacks a lot of the careful interactive stuff kids love but teens wouldn’t. The Blu-ray is outfitted with a DVD copy, as well.
The first extra is “Last Chance Lloyd,” an extended supplement to the movie that focuses on Lloyd’s search for a prom date. He really did ask everyone he could think of. Another featurette follows, called “Putting on Prom,” which is basically a making-of bit featuring cast and crew interviews.
Bloopers and deleted scenes are the next features Disney has offered. The bloopers are basic but thankfully short, and the deleted scenes are lengthy because they have commentary with director Joe Nussbaum.
Closing out the extras are music videos for a ton of tracks that appear throughout the film. It’s actually pretty impressive. Cast members Nolan Sotillo and Thomas McDonnel both get their own music videos. It also seems as if Disney commandeered an entirely new soundtrack for the film, rather than pulling from pop culture. It might be cheaper, but it’s a lot more work.