!>/files/2006/02/hsmusical.jpg(High School Musical)! This gem of a Disney Channel Original Movie (or DCOM, for short) is called _High School Musical_ but is targeted — as you might suspect — at middle schoolers. The plot is minimal and contrived, the characters are stereotypical and completely flat, the ending preordained, and the movie, on the whole, absolutely wonderful.
Troy the basketball star and Gabrielle the mathlete are paired off against their will at a New Years karaoke party and discover their hitherto unknown shared passion for singing. They think it is a chance meeting on vacation, but (shock!) soon find that they are attending the same high school, which just happens to be casting its winter musical. Troy is afraid of what his basketball buddies might think of his thing for singing, Gabrielle is reluctant to take on such a public activity before she has gotten her bearings at her new school. The two, a bit perturbed by how the school’s resident diva is treating the student composer, decide to try out after all, and just like that we’re off to the races.
The tertiary characters — jocks, “brainiacs,” band geeks, and the like, are stereotyped to the point of absurdity, which is probably the idea, and the school is thrown into chaos when Troy’s brash action causes others to start revealing their secret obsessions and crossing boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. The ball player who bakes is my favorite. His crème brûlée obsession makes me hungry. 🙂
Between unintentionally funny dialogue and the occasional hilariously cheesy joke we have catchy if simplistic tunes that will stick in your head. While the various factional leaders attempt to break up Troy and Gabrielle, they soon discover the error of their ways and everything turns out okay in the end, as you might suspect. The only obvious thing that this movie lacks is the main character’s kiss, tactfully broken up by a basketball. Guess Disney wanted to keep that G rating.
Me, my sister, and my roommate agree — High School Musical is a blast. It’s also Disney’s most popular DCOM to date, with over 7 million viewers on its first night. If you get a chance, check it out. You (probably) won’t regret it!