A new girl in town forms a rock band. Cue much drama as they prepare themselves to compete in the heralded local battle of the bands competition.
A teen movie starring High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens should by rights alienate anyone aged over 12, but Bandslam holds a few surprises. Its surprisingly indie aspirations are clear from the off: our hero Will (newcomer Gaelan Connell) is a geeky muso who regularly writes to David Bowie. When he moves to New Jersey with his mother (Lisa Kudrow), he discovers the Bandslam music contest and finds his calling. Stereotypes are avoided, and although Vanessa Hudgens feels miscast as the class loner, you forgive her during the blistering musical finale. Not particularly polished, but like writer-director Todd Graff’s debut feature, Camp, brims with enthusiasm.
Surprisingly watchable despite the formulaic teen format.
Reviewed by Anna Smith