The Cast of Characters:
(Zac Efron). Has the shiniest hair, and is therefore the romantic lead. Star player on the East High School basketball team. Nice to homely girls, and can sing, too. Gets knighted next week.
(Vanessa Anne Hudgens). The hottest chick in the cast, and therefore Troy’s Obligatory Love Interest. (Also, Zac Efron’s Obligatory Love Interest in real life.) The shy “new girl” who harbors a secret singing talent. A “math genius” as well, which in this movie means “able to write important-looking stuff on chalkboards”.
Sharpay and Ryan Evans
(Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel). Villainous brother and sister musical team. They have the teachers in their stylish back pockets. They run the drama club and get the leads in the school musical every year. That is, until interlopers Troy and Gabriella decide to interlope their way into the winter musical.
Chad and Taylor
(Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman). Stock “best friends” to our two leads. One’s an athlete, one’s a braniac—together they tell lame jokes! They work hard to separate the couple and put a stop to their musical ambitions, until they inevitably have a change of heart in time for the big finale. Because what are friends for, if not to murder your dreams before making them come true?
(Alyson Reed). The Evil Drama Teacher. She speaks in fluent Monologue. Seriously, her dialogue is nothing but meaningless one-sided blather about the arts, true talent, and the theater. Depending on her mood, she does everything she can to help and/or prevent Troy and Gabriella from getting parts in the school musical.
Coach Mike Bolton
(Bart Johnson). The Dopey but Lovable Basketball Coach. Also, Troy’s dad. Also, the only tolerable character in the entire cast.
Every now and then, a movie comes out of the blue and captures the attention of millions, and far exceeds the filmmakers’ wildest expectations, and makes an insane amount of money for the studio, all without anyone ever realizing that the film itself is stunningly mediocre.
A whole lot of examples come to mind: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Clerks. The Shrek movies. Ghost, also recapped here at the Agony Booth. I’m not just talking about overrated movies. I’m talking about lightweight films that somehow struck a deep chord with a key demographic, leaving everybody outside of that demographic without the slightest clue of what all the fuss was about.
The latest movie you can add to this long list of overhyped mediocrity is the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, and in this case, the key demographic is young girls, particularly the tweeners that make up the Disney Channel’s core audience. Basically, everything that is non-me.