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  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The marketing for this film might make it look like a bad trawl through a ‘Fame’-meets-‘High School Musical’ dirge of unremitting awfulness, yet despite a join the-dots feelgood scenario and an overlong running time, Todd Graff’s ‘Bandslam’ turns out to be an unexpectedly pleasing treat for teenagers. Although ostensibly about preparations for a US college’s hotly contested Battle of the Bands tournament, the film’s real nucleus is the burgeoning will they/won’t they relationships that form between a nerdy teenage musicologist-cum-manager with a fixation on David Bowie (Gaelan Connell), a luscious Linda Ronstadt lookalike (Vanessa Hudgens) and a tall blonde bombshell (Alyson Michalka).

‘Bandslam’ is far from exceptional, but is saved by decent character development, a cluster of engaging performances and several amusing deadpan moments. Better still, a knowingly hip ‘School of Rock’ attitude to what constitutes good musical taste, coupled with a flock of seminal vintage and indie tunes, edge it towards something a little more agreeable than the majority of today’s generic, pop-laden teen romcoms. And besides, any film that ends with Wilco’s ‘What Light’ is fine in my book.

Written by Derek Adams

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Wednesday 12 August 2009
  • Duration:111 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Scott Porter, Todd Graff
  • Screenwriter:Todd Graff, Josh A. Kagan
  • Cast:
    • Ryan Donowho
    • Lisa Kudrow
    • Charlie Saxton
    • Gaelan Connell
    • Vanessa Hudgens
    • Alyson Michalka
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