Prom centres around teens attending the same nondescript American High School as they ready themselves for the shiniest night of their short lives. Prom Committee Head Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) has run a tight ship organising everything for the dance 3 weeks early, and locks all the decorations in a school shed. When jock-jerk Tyler (DeVaughn Nixon) accidently burns down the shed and its contents, Nova is forced to work with bad boy Jesse (Thomas McDonnell) to put things right. Meanwhile, school is consumed with the expectation of Prom, but Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) can’t find a date, sophomores Lucas (Nolan Sotillo) and Simone (Danielle Campbell) might be falling for each other and everyone wonders whether the strange Rolo (Joe Adler) really is bringing his mysterious date.
Prom is firmly aimed at those brought up on a strict diet of Hannah Montana and The Wizards of Waverely Place, so perhaps director Joe Nussbaum can be forgiven for assuming that younger viewers may not have experienced this story before, but Prom really was horribly predictable. The huge cast are uncommonly beautiful and do exactly as they are told, but most of them are dead behind the eyes. What Prom does excel in is the visual portrayal of blatant school stereotypes. The actors playing Nova (blonde, try-hard), Jesse (dark, long hair, brooding), Simone (gob-smackingly pretty, latina), and Tyler (black, over-confident sports star), had so little to work with it was a little sickening, but then at moments there were flashes of brilliant characterisation, such as with Corey (Cameron Monaghan) a youngster sprinkled with freckles, wearing a pork pie hat and going on about a band called Stick Hippo. Corey’s presence had little bearing on the plot but without him and the other school oddballs lloyd and Rolo, the actors would be largely forgotten.
The message behind Prom was supposed to be ‘enjoy prom; it will be a final memory of the heady days of school’, but the inordinate amount of pressure put on the teenage cast to go all out for one dance meant this message became lost in a sea of taffeta and tuxedos. In a movie world drenched in teen nudity, swearing and raucousness, it is asking a lot to make a U rated film nowadays, but Prom barely brushed against any interesting issues. Yet sporadically Prom gave the viewer a little joke as some kind of reward for being treated like a utter moron for the remainder of the time.
The two worst criticisms of Prom are firstly that the high school movie plagiarism comes from left, right and centre thus rendering the film merely an amalgamation of previous better material. But, secondly, this could have been avoided it wasn’t for the woeful lack of exposition, which the image above ably demonstrates. A guy wants to ask a girl to Prom, so he finds some 8 foot letters spelling P R O M in order to ask her. This same sequence was repeated 10 times in a row, turning Prom into a cinematic sledgehammer, crushing the soul.
In the end, the sense of patronising de ja vu whilst watching Prom unravel was so palpable it interfered with any real enjoyment that could have been had. Only watch Prom if you’re 12, you’ve never watched a high school movie before, the video shop is shut, and the whole of the internet has failed.