High School Musical 3: Senior Year

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High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Walt Disney Pictures
Opened October 24

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My child made me promise I wouldn’t come on all ’60s-righteous about this one, and Lord knows how I’ve tried to focus on the potential of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and all the other vanilla muffins making their leap from small to big screen. But truly, High School Musical 3: Senior Year is as far as all but one of the cast (Ashley Tisdale, a lone standout as the mildly mean girl Sharpay) will be going—other than straight to Dancing With the Stars. Set against a production design seemingly inspired by the American flag, Director Kenny Ortega’s choreography is industrial and efficient, if haplessly stranded somewhere between Michael Jackson and the Village People. Should we be grateful that no one in this color-blind, class-free, odorless, and colorless crew does heroin, gets pregnant, or jumps off a cliff? Maybe, but unless you call “Should I go to Juilliard or Berkeley?” a heavy dilemma, HSM 3 isn’t about anything beyond the impulse to burst into tuneless song and dance every five minutes, interwoven with a wan rip-off of All About Eve. However they’ve colluded in making HSM one of the most lucrative TV-youth franchises ever, the world’s tweens and teens deserve better than this bottomlessly bland pap. On the way home, we rented West Side Story and Hairspray.

 
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