A Review by Alison Sikes
Bandslam is not a grand slam
It has all the makings of a perfect tweenage film: two Disney channel stars, one music-obsessed social outcast, a lot of angst and “indie” references, and “rockin’” musical numbers. The problem: we’ve seen it all before. Summit Entertainment’s Bandslam tells the story of Will Burton (Gaelan Connell), a misunderstood outsider who moves to Lodi, NJ and discovers that, unlike his old school, Martin Van Buren High’s students love music.
The school’s social ca lendar revolves around Bandslam, a talent competition where the winning band receives a professional recording contract. Through a random- never explained- encounter, once-popular-now-emo Charlotte Banks (Aly Michalka) asks Will to be her band’s manager and help them win Bandslam with his “awesome” indie music knowledge. Also thrown into the plotline is Will’s budding romance with semi-gothic and monotonic Sa5m (“the five is silent”) played by Vanessa Hudgens.
The failure in Bandslam lies in the fact that it cannot decide what type of film it wants to be. One minute it’s a comedy, then a musical, then a drama. While elements of these genres can be used successfully together, it’s an impossible feat when you have Vanessa Hudgens playing a pariah in the movie. As Sa5m, she proves yet again, that she cannot act nor sing nor be of any use. Additionally, newcomer Gaelan Connell lacks depth and likeability in his portrayal of Will. In fact, there is not one strong performance from the lead roles. Instead, the movie is saved by its supporting cast. Bandslam lacks the star power and talent to reach the top of the charts.
Band Slam hits theaters today on August 14th.