Bandslam (PG) B

Bandslam (PG) B

It's a movie about high school kids...and music. But it's not from Disney and Zac Efron is nowhere to be seen.

In "Bandslam" a high school student named Will moves to New Jersey. He didn't have any friends in his old school so he's hoping things will be different this time. He meets two girls: one who he has to do a school project with (played by "High School Musical"'s Vanessa Hudgens), and the other who wants to start-up a band (Aly Michalka of "Aly and A.J.").

Will becomes the manager of the band, decides to make some changes and then enters the group into the Bandslam competition, where the winner gets a recording contract. Along the way he, and the other members of the band, deal with issues of romance, anger and the battle to become famous.

If you are one of those people who saw the trailer or read about "Bandslam" when it was released last summer, thought it looked corny and predictable, and skipped it, here's your chance to make-up for your mistake. The script does not follow the typical formula for these kind of stories.

The performances are great, led by newcomer Galen O'Connell as Will. And Lisa Kudrow is very believable as Will's mom. And the songs are quite catchy.

This is more of a smaller film than, say, the "HSM" trilogy, but I liked it that way. The plot is simple, but the film keeps you entertained from start to finish. There are some light moments but also some serious ones, with a nice, underlying message about the importance of friendship.

"Bandslam" is rated PG for some mild language and dramatic moments. It's good for kids 7 and older, but younger fans of Hudgens and Aly may be disappointed that they don't spend the whole time on camera singing. However, anyone who plays an instrument or belongs to a band will really get into it.

On The Official Kid Critic Report Card, “Bandslam" gets a high B! It was one of my favorite films of 2009. Check it out and see why.

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