I'm not one who ordinarily quotes other film critics, but Peter Travers of "Rolling Stone" has what may very well be the review quote of the year in his 1-star review of "High School Musical 3." Travers writes, "If you're gay and/or eight-years-old, then HSM3 is the movie event of the year."
I could end my review right now and be happy. Travers really says it all, and I'm sitting here laughing hysterically again for the umpteenth time as I think about this classic line in a mere one paragraph review from Travers.
The problem is that, as much as I can agree with his basic observation, I have to disagree with his 1-star rating.
Silly beyond words? Yeppers.
A queen's delight? Yep. Travers got it right.
While I've rather enjoyed bashing the whole "High School Musical" phenomenon, mostly due to have a teenaged goddaughter who adores the series, I must relent just a bit and acknowledge a couple basic truths about this third in the series and first cinematic release-
First, "High School Musical 3" accomplishes everything it wants to accomplish. It's a G-rated kiddie romp through high school with good-hearted, wholesome teens singin' and dancin' to their hearts' desire. Heck, "High School Musical 3" is so infectious one almost forgets about the not so G-rated photos that made their way around the internet starring HSM3's Vanessa Hudgens.
Secondly, The music? While I personally didn't care for it, golly gee whiz, most kids will absolutely swoon.
Finally, I have to be honest. I have to be just a touch bit grateful for a film like "High School Musical 3." After all, teens these days seem more obsessed with horror flicks and potty mouth humor. It's rather refreshing to have a G-rated, pure and positive film like "High School Musical 3" win the box-office.
While these things don't mean I'm going to quite give "High School Musical 3" a true thumbs up, it does mean I'll give it a slight recommendation for being exactly what its target audience wants it to be.
Plus, Zac Efron is just plain good. Vanessa Hudgens is a lot of fun, and Ashley Tisdale shines as the film's closest version of a bad girl.
I found myself thinking about how horrid "Bratz: The Movie" was while watching "High School Musical 3." "Bratz: The Movie" tried to mix positive messages into its nearly back to back stereotypes. "High School Musical 3," on the other hand, is almost unabashedly pro-humanity, pro self-esteem and so absolutely freakin' upbeat that it's the new millennium's version of "Up With People."
Is that really all that bad, though?
While "High School Musical 3" may or may not actually finish out the series, given its slightly unexpected box-office success, its hard to begrudge a film success when it has such an upbeat attitude and overwhelming respect for all its characters, even the bad girl.
Adults? I can't imagine you'd like "High School Musical 3."
Teen girls? Prepare to have your hearts go aflutter.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic