And if this frothy flounce hasn't a trace of edge, accept that as just part of the charm. Kenny Ortega, Disney's house choreographer-director runs us through a Senior Year of big decisions and big production numbers with flair and without irony.
- 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'
- 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year' Red Carpet Pictures
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Cast: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Alyson Reed
Director: Kenny Ortega
Running time: 1 hour 49 minutes
Industry rating: G.
Musically, the show peaks early with an eye-popping "I Want it All" duet between Sharpay and Ryan. The laughs aren't big or plentiful. It's sentimental, nostalgic, just like senior year. If the guys burst into song in the middle of a basketball huddle, you go with it. Just allow yourself a giggle at the Troy-on-the-court/Gabriella-in-the-stands recreation of that famous moment in The Natural, and move on.
Ortega's choreography shines in every setting, never more than in the most scenic junkyard ever as BFFs Troy and Chad (Corbin Bleu) sing of the good times they've had. A "Last Waltz" number between the young lovers Troy and Gabriella is the emotional high point.
The big "musicale?" It's a spectacle, all right. Plainly, Albuquerque isn't cutting back its performing arts curricula.
The acting is more adequate than great. But the whole enterprise has an infectious energy that can only come from the young pros in that cast. It's a gateway musical, training kids to appreciate this classic American art form. Parents may appreciate the movie's unspoken put-off-thinking-about-sex and sexuality ethos. Older kids will giggle at the odd homoerotic moment.
Like Sex and the City, HSM3 was built almost exclusively for fans of the TV show. If you aren't between the ages of six and 14 or don't have kids, you may have trouble getting into that Wildcat spirit. But don't be shocked if Senior Year takes you back, just a bit, and makes you wish every high school was a little like East High.