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'Prom' review: A cliche fest that's better than you think--but still not very good

**1/2 (out of four)

Girly-girl Nova (Aimee Teegarden) is the overachieving class president on her way to Georgetown in the fall. Manly, unshaven Jesse (Andrew Keegan-esque Thomas McDonell) is an underachieving rebel with long hair and nothing ahead of him. They couldn’t possibly hit it off while working on prom decorations, could they?

The buzz: Certainly some people have a blast at prom; others don’t go or go and hate it. (Full disclosure: Mine sucked.) It’s safe to say this Disney flick won’t allow for a full emotional spectrum, but I’m still excited to see a starring role for “Friday Night Lights” alum Teegarden.

The verdict: There’s a likably hopeful story trying to emerge from “Prom.” If only the movie didn’t cling so tightly to cliché. Sweet methods of asking someone to prom and the need to play an active role in your own happiness are canceled out with an obligatory trying-on-dresses montage and generic, happy-face polish applied to almost everyone’s night. “Prom” doesn’t need to have the horror of “Prom Night,” but it’s at its emotionally generous best when showing how opportunistic teens can be, for better or worse. Once most of the disposable movie is disposed, what remains is Lucas (Nolan Sotillo), a sophomore who thinks his crush doesn’t know how he feels (dude, she does), and Lloyd (Nicholas Braun), a Lloyd Dobler-type who grows on you as he tries to find a date. Also: “Prom” doesn’t moronically disintegrate cliques like “Glee.” That’s a win.

Did you know? You may not think a chaste high school movie—of course there’s no mention of alcohol or sex here—would have impressive music in it, but you’d be wrong. Those Dancing Days? Band of Horses? Smith Westerns? Well done.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
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