It’s not *that* terrible.
Here are all of the reasons to go see High School Musical 3:
- You are a thirteen year old girl and you saw the first two. Fifteen times each. Plus you own the soundtracks and know all the words and insist on singing along to every song. Alternately, you’re the little brother or mom of the aforementioned thirteen year old girl, and you’re forced to tag along or supervise.
- You lost a bet. Not just any bet will do, though. It needs to be the sort of bet where, if you had won it, someone else would have gotten a tattoo. On their face.
- You’re the second string movie reviewer at RVANews.com, Quantum of Solace doesn’t come out until next week (when the first string reviewer conveniently returns to action, damn her), and your editor thinks it would be hilarious to send you to ask a box office for one ticket to HSM 3. Well, the joke’s on her because I bought the tickets from a machine and I brought a friend.
In this third edition of the High School Musical juggernaut franchise, Troy (Zac Efron, whose hair looks like it took 3 hours to carefully tousle even when he’s in the middle of playing a basketball game while simultaneously dancing and singing a song) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens, who mercilessly returns to her role despite rumors she’d be fired for giving the Internet naked pictures of herself, which your intrepid junior-varsity movie reviewer took it upon himself to view only to find out whether it would make the movie awkward [verdict: yes]) are having doubts about their future.
Naturally, in part because this movie is written to appeal principally to thirteen-year old brains, but also because this is literally how high school seniors think, these doubts take the form of a false dilemma. Troy is experiencing conflicts between the basketball and drama sides of his life, which is no surprise given that it was pretty much the entire plot of the first movie. And Gabriella is having some sort of angst I wasn’t able to really figure out. Whatever. Honestly, who cares?
Not the aforementioned accompanying friend, who continually whispered in my ear things like “Oh dear god, not another song please” and rejected any attempts on my part to discuss which female costar was the hottest (“Kelsi is my favorite I think.” “Who cares, she looks stupid, they all look stupid.”)
It’s not that High School Musical 3 is terrible, because it’s not. Some of the songs are mildly catchy, and the vocal syncing isn’t entirely mismatched. Even the writing is kind of cute once in a while. If you are absolutely forced to chaperon some adolescent, you can keep yourself amused by looking out for Top Gun-esque gay vs. straight subtext (e.g. Troy to best friend Chad, while laying on his bed: “I don’t want my life to be all about balls.”) But I walked out of the theater humming the tune from a Bollywood song I had seen two nights prior, and I’m pretty sure that after I finish writing this review that I’ll never think about this movie ever again.
That is, until HSM 4 comes out.