So, yeah, Prom is comfort food, and kind of the whole deal with comfort food is that you know exactly what you're gonna get. I mean, if I poked you on the shoulder and shouted, "hey, make up a bunch of characters for a movie named Prom, now!", you'd rattle off pretty much everyone on the bill here. Yeah, there's Nova (Aimee Teegarden) the workaholic overachiever who spearheads the prom planning committee but hasn't actually gotten around to lining up a date yet. Oops! When all the decorations go up in flames, Nova only has a few weeks to build it all back up from scratch, and the only help she has is troublemaker Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell). Leather jacket? Check. Scruffy facial hair? Check. Always in the principal's office? Check. Misunderstood bad boy who Nova will eventually fall head-over-heels for, and it turns out he's a really good kid who's just had a hard time dealing with his troubled past and stuff? Well, I don't want to give anything away! Who else are we looking at here? Oh, there's the arrogant jock who's two-timing a couple of super-nice, super-cool girls who deserve way better. Over there in the corner is the awkward senior working his way down a list of girls, desperately trying to find a date, only to
Sure, you probably already guessed who all these characters were and what's gonna happen to 'em once I said "teen movie". There aren't a lot of surprises here, but that's not really the point of a movie like this. Prom doesn't come off as some coldly-calculated marketing machine at work, and there's a sincerity to it all that counts for a lot. The girls are all cute as a button. Multiple buttons, even. I wound up liking pretty much everybody in the cast, really. Even though I knew what was in the cards for all of them, I still felt happy when things went their way and was boo-boo-lip sad when they didn't. Since it's played as more of an ensemble piece with a bunch of different mini-stories being juggled around, nothing ever has a chance to feel stale or boring. There's a really nice balance between keeping the momentum breezing forward without getting disjointed or halfway developing all this stuff. Prom isn't as sharp or witty as my favorite teen movies from the '90s, but it's not really trying to be either. It's all about the heart, and even if the beats of the plot aren't astonishingly original or anything, I'd say Prom is still reasonably smartly-written overall...y'know, kinda generic but not at all dumb. The movie's so sincere and gosh-darn-likeable that I just wanna run up to it and give it a big bear hug. This is exactly what I want from a movie called Prom. Heck, that's the review right there. Forget all that other stuff I said! Recommended.
Prom is kind of a knockout in high-def. One of the first movies to be shot with the mighty Arri Alexa camera, its digital photography is ridiculously sharp and overflowing with detail. Contrast remains rock solid throughout, bolstered by deep, inky black levels. No video noise ever buzzes around, even when the lights are dimmed down really low. I think I snapped all the wrong screengrabs because Prom is heckuva lot more vibrant and colorful than the pics scattered around this review might lead you to think. No hiccups in the compression, no clunky noise reduction, no hard ringing around edges...it looks silky-smooth and polished and just...well, perfect.
I guess since you're reading a Blu-ray review and all, you're not really eyeing the DVD-only release of Prom, but in case you're still kinda curious how the two stack up next to each other, click on any of the images below to compare:
Boring technical stuff! Dual layer Blu-ray disc. AVC encode. Seamless branching, depending on which language you choose. Aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Anamorphic widescreen DVD on the other side of the case too.
I really don't have anything but the very nicest things to say about the way Prom looks on Blu-ray, but the way it sounds...? Kind of a different story. Don't get me wrong; this 24-bit, 5.1 DTS-HD Master
Prom also piles on a descriptive video service track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in French and Spanish. Subtitles are offered in English (SDH), French, and Spanish.
Pretty much all of the extras are exclusive to this Blu-ray release. The standalone DVD only includes the making-of featurette and the blooper reel.
Just in case you missed it a few paragraphs up, this two-disc set comes packaged with a DVD that'll play in pretty much anything, ever, in case you're not in front of your home theater but still wanna give Prom a spin. The set comes packaged in a shiny, embossed slipcover too.
The Final Word
Go ahead and judge me if you want, but goshdarnit, I liked Prom. It's everything I want in a teen movie: cute and fun and frothy and totally earnest without even a little bit of cynicism creeping in. Yeah, yeah, the characters and the beats of the plot really haven't changed from the glut of teen flicks that flooded video stores back in the late '90s, but there's a reason so many of these movies march along to the same formula: it works! Recommended.