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Time Out New York Project: Issue #810, April 28-May 4, 2011
Dir. Joe Nussbaum. 2011. PG. 103mins. Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Dean Norris.
Spring is in the air — time for high-schoolers to prep their tuxedoes and dresses, get their dates lined up and ready their buckets of pigs’ blood for the social function to end them all. Prom! The squeamish will be happy to learn that there are no telekinetic Carrie Whites ready to unleash hell in this peppy Disney production. Instead, we get a fresh-faced bunch of types (jocks and nerd, goths and Goody Two-shoes) winding their way through a loosely connected series of fairly clever blackout sketches that all lead up to the big night.
High on the movie’s list of soul-shattering conundrums is the difficulty of telling your long-term boyfriend you got into Parsons. But the majority of the drama comes courtesy of prom committee head Nova (Teegarden) and school bad boy Jesse (McDonell), who are forced to work together after the decorations for the gala — theme: Starry Night — go up in flames. They hate each other, of course. Which means they love each other. Fortunately, Teegarden and McDonell make up for the hand-me-down plotting with a sweet, unaffected chemistry. And there’s even some potent, uniquely complicated pathos when Nova’s protective dad (Breaking Bad’s Norris) confronts Jesse about the teenagers’ budding relationship. For a strange, surreal moment, iCarly becomes I, Claudius.—Keith Uhlich
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