Published Apr 21, 2011"It's just all of us together in this one perfect moment" proclaims Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), the naïve, blonde image of perfection and class president of high school anywhere USA. Her doughy eyes are filled to the brim with tears as she tries to convince herself that prom will be the most memorable night of her life.
It's doubtful anyone describes a high school prom as a "perfect moment." Prom is the ultimate culmination of high school debauchery, where virginity is lost, alcohol is found and memories are hazy. Unfortunately, Disney's attempt to follow the legacy of John Hughes's high school dramedys is far too idealistic and light-hearted to come anywhere near a realistic portrayal of a North American high school and the scandalous proms that occur.
The classic cornering of characters is employed in Prom. We have the good girl, Nova; the rebel, Jesse (Thomas McDonell); and various other outlying characters that have "serious" high school problems that must be solved before the big night. Despite her popularity, intelligence and unconditional benevolence to the various social groups, including the goths (oh shit, not the goths!), Nova (the Molly Ringwald of the group) is unable to find a prom date. Her friend, Mei is horribly distraught because she is afraid to tell her boyfriend that she will be attending Parsons in NYC rather than joining him at the University of Michigan. Will the high school sweethearts break up? Will Nova find a date? These are the life threatening questions that the characters of Prom must face.
Here comes the twist: as Nova works night and day to get the prom plans in order, a fire breaks out and burns all of her decorations. The fire is the result of a romantic, candlelit picnic in a shed where the decorations are being kept. Dinner in an enclosed shed, how romantic? As the prom committee witnesses the destruction of their hard work, it's evident that Nova is the only one who cares. Jesse (reminiscent of James Dean) rolls into the scene on his grumbling motorcycle like a true high school badass. After a few ambivalent remarks, he's assigned to help Nova rebuild on the terms that he won't graduate if he refuses to help.
At first Nova is offended by Jesse's "tough" personality and indifference, but she learns he's simply "misunderstood," and cant help but be attracted to his muscular, objectified body. Cue the dramatic music and overtly predictable storyline. Yes, Nova wishes she was Jesse's girl.
Prom is basically the progeny of Ten Things I Hate About You and the Breakfast Club if they were made under the strict Hays Production Code of the '30s and '40s. If William Hays could be resurrected, he would cry with joy after seeing this film. Meanwhile, John Hughes is rolling in his grave. This high school is located in some utopia dream world where sex, drugs and rock'n'roll never existed and thus are never discussed.
Prom is unsure of its audience; its flowery and hopeful demeanour definitely bares the mark of Disney. Maybe its title should have been Spring Fling instead. (Disney/Buena Vista)