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Review

‘High School Musical 3’ same old song and dance

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October 30, 2008

It took me a good three hours before I could even think of how to start talking about “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Having already reviewed the first two entries in Disney’s mystifyingly successful franchise, I knew even before paying for my ticket that I would have the exact same criticisms. But after sitting through the House of Mouse’s latest festival of bubblegum pop, I can safely say that “HSM3” isn’t as bad as its predecessors. It’s worse.

  “HSM3” kicks off as senior year is winding down for the East High gang. Troy (Zac Efron) and his basketball team win the championship, Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) is busy editing the school yearbook, and brother/sister pair Sharpay and Ryan (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel) maintain their strangelhold on the drama club. But when the spring musical is to be modeled after the East High troupe’s senior year, everyone starts to question their plans for the future. Troy’s plans to play college ball are put on the backburner when he finds out he has a shot at winning a scholarship to Juilliard.

  On top of that, Gabriella’s upcoming move to Stanford puts her and Troy’s relationship in jeopardy, a dilemma Sharpay takes advantage of by scheming her way to starring in the show.

  It isn’t just that “HSM3” is an extremely corny and conspicuously peppy musical romp. It’s also an incredibly lazy film, a big accomplishment considering how hackneyed the previous two flicks were. But as clichéd as they were, those movies actually had stories that gave them at least a little bit of narrative flow. “HSM3,” on the other hand, is two hours of stuff just *happening* — random events tied together by the flimsiest of plot threads.

  The script never decides on a main story, so it spends its time playing hot potato with the subplots, never concentrating on one long enough to make any sort of impact whatsoever. The flick feels five times longer than it lasts.

  I wholeheartedly recommend “HSM3” to all viewers who got a kick out of the first two movies. As for the rest of us, I wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid just yet. I’m sure the kids in the cast are a spirited bunch of performers, but the monotone manner in which they enact their respective teeny-bopper dramas makes any “Dawson’s Creek” episode look like “Citizen Kane.”

  The music is even worse off— a stream of soul-sucking pop flavorless enough to make the Backstreet Boys weep, all accompanied by hilariously awful dance routines.

  While not as inherently evil a film as last year’s “Bratz,” “High School Musical 3” is cinematic junk food at its gnarliest.

  I’m surprised so many parents give it a free pass and allow their kids to fall victim to its insultingly simple story and even more basic soundtrack. I’m willing to bet most of these folks never actually took the time to watch a “High School Musical” feature; if they had, then you’d see a lot more people using the DVDs as skeet shooting

1 star

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.