“Prom” is pure bubble gum, from its shiny wrapping to its mushy insides to the fleeting aftertaste.
But sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with chewing bubble gum. Attention pubescents: “Prom” is such a time.
Brookside High School is the place. It exists in some nameless middle-class American suburb where the worst things afflicting its student body are detention and unrequited puppy love. (Teen pregnancy? Bah!)
Free of irony, “Prom” is a squeaky-clean, fairy-tale teenage romantic comedy that makes “The Breakfast Club” look edgy. And that’s just fine, because this Disney product does straitlaced fairly well.
Our guide through prom season is Nova (Aimee Teegarden, “Friday Night Lights”), a blond, straight-A student and class president who is on her way to Georgetown with a full academic ride.
But before she graduates to the real world, nothing else matters but prom. Her problem: She doesn’t have a date.
Enter Jesse (Thomas McDonell), the hunky, unshaven, prom-hating, motorcycle-driving, misunderstood rebel – otherwise known as young-guy-who-looks- exactly-like-Johnny Depp.
In a series of misbegotten events, the pair end up working together on the massive prom decorations. Cue indie pop soundtrack and – bam – their bellicose relationship turns into a star-crossed love affair.
“Prom” is populated with the usual cast of high school archetypes: jocks, geeks, stoners, etc. Their couplings get screen time, too, as they prepare for the “forever night” (Nova’s words).
The humor is colored with enough snark to balance the gooey romantic quandaries. Most of the jokes revolve around the travails of the geeks, one of whom relates the fun of this whole prom enterprise to going “sledding and getting paralyzed.”
“Prom” is a harmless jaunt into a fanciful teenage world where prom really is the only thing that matters. Kids, dream while you still can.