Twee­nie night­mare set to lousy mu­sic

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

6.30pm, Seven THIS typ­i­cal tween- tar­geted film be­gins with the cast ask­ing taunt­ingly ( in song, of course), ‘‘ What time is it?’’ We all know the an­swer: it’s time to switch off your television be­fore it’s too late, par­tic­u­larly if there is any risk that the nasal singing and soppy tunes could suck you into the ab­surdly un­re­al­is­tic world of this un­nec­es­sary se­quel. The plot, for what it’s worth ( and that’s not much, I as­sure you) un­winds ex­cru­ci­at­ingly, with plenty of up- beat tunes thrown in at pre­dictable mo­ments.

Troy Bolton ( Zac Efron) and Gabriella Mon­tez ( Vanessa Anne Hud­gens) are on vacation from East High School for the sum­mer, and get jobs at the lo­cal coun­try club. Nat­u­rally, all of their friends come along as well, which serves as the foun­da­tion for nu­mer­ous sick­en­ing sin­ga­longs and a se­ries of run- ins with their posh, prissy and snob­bish school­mate Shar­pay Evans ( Ash­ley Tis­dale).

It so hap­pens that Shar­pay’s par­ents own the club, and she comes up with a few ma­nip­u­la­tive and rather ridicu­lous ploys to pinch Troy from Gabriella and his other friends.

With­out the trou­ble that Shar­pay causes, this movie would be all of 10 min­utes long which, frankly, would have been an im­prove­ment.

Led on by Shar­pay, Troy strays into a more af­flu­ent crowd but, of course, he even­tu­ally sees the er­ror of his ways, sorts him­self out and is re­united with his girl and other friends in the sop­pi­est, most cloy­ing way pos­si­ble, even by Dis­ney stan­dards.

If High School Mu­si­cal 2 has a re­deem­ing char­ac­ter, it is Shar­pay. She is a fas­ci­nat­ing ob­ject of de­ri­sion, and the fact she bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to Paris Hil­ton only makes it eas­ier to loathe her.

Her per­for­mance alone makes it pos­si­ble to watch this movie whole way through.

Nat­u­rally, by the ghastly happy end­ing song, even she is great friends with ev­ery­one. The only thing good about this fi­nal mu­si­cal num­ber is that it’s the last one.

I have noth­ing against the noble tra­di­tion of the mu­si­cal: Grease and The Sound of Mu­sic are among my favourite films. But when third- rate

the singers col­lide with fourth- rate songs, the re­sult­ing mess is an in­sult to the en­tire tra­di­tion of the mu­si­cal. It is also an in­sult to the in­tended au­di­ence. Those twee­nies re­ally de­serve some­thing bet­ter than this.

The scari­est thing is that High School Mu­si­cal 3 is in pro­duc­tion. All we can hope is that the next in­stal­ment is a tad less pre­dictable.

En­core: Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hud­gens reprise their roles

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