Grae's currently on vacation in an exotic land until the end of April. Subbing for her is fellow MDC writer Alonso Duralde. Follow him on Twitter at @ADuralde.
Who's In It: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Yin Chang, Joe Adler, Nicholas Braun
The Basics: Another senior year is ending, which means Brookside High is gearing up for high school's grand finale: the prom. So naturally, any number of mini-dramas are unfolding: Class president Nova (Teegarden) is busting her hump to make prom perfect even though she seems to be dateless, Mei (Chang) doesn't know how to tell her long-term boyfriend that she's going off to Parsons in New York instead of state school with him, prom-king favorite Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon) can't seem to be faithful to prom-queen favorite Jordan (Kylie Bunbury), and sweet dork Lloyd (Braun) just wants to find a girl -- any girl -- who will go to the dance with him. All seems lost when the prom decorations accidentally go up in smoke, but school bad boy Jesse (McDonnell) is pressed into service to help Nova rebuild, and you know what happens when a coffee-achieving good girl meets her first brooding biker.
What's The Deal: Like Disney's High School Musical franchise, this is a view of secondary education best enjoyed by those still in grammar school, which isn't to say that it's a total chore for anyone who's already gotten their diploma -- in the way that a real prom will start with everyone standing around staring at each other but end with a crowded dance floor, Prom starts to pick up steam as it goes along, with stock characters actually developing some quirks and slowly making you care about their adolescent fates. The classic teen movies tend to resonate more with actual teens, but while high schoolers may find this movie unbelievably innocuous, it's a sweet enough diversion for young'uns and the parents who have to accompany them.
Is This A Thing?: Apparently just asking someone to prom in person or via e-mail or text is too mundane -- as Prom would have it, it's an elaborate ritual that involves giant letters onstage, invitations spelled out in rose petals or post-its or on the torsos of shirtless classmates. The Brookside boys go at it like they're a) trying to get the girl to marry them and b) get on YouTube.
Just Say No To Caramel: One of the film's oddly charming supporting characters is spacey Rolo (Adler), who seems to operate about a half-step behind everyone else. This being a Disney flick, we never see him abuse foreign substances -- besides those candies that give him his nickname -- but Adler's wonderfully daffy turn seems to have drifted in from an early Cheech and Chong movie.