Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure
Directed by: Michael Lembeck Cast: Ashley Tisdale, Austin Butler, Bradley Steven Perry Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: G Due Out: April 18, 2011
PLOT: A spoiled girl (Tisdale) who was in a few high school musicals adventures to the Big Apple in an attempt to make it big on Broadway.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Indoctrinated fans of High School Musical will be able to take away more of this film's entertainment value than those unfamiliar with Sharpay Evans and her legacy as a Wildcat. Young kids will enjoy the couple of song and dance performances in this movie, along with Tisdale's Barbie doll performance. Whether this movie is really healthy for kids is another question. Anyone that's actually gone to New York to chase a Broadway dream will smash their TVs.
The character development of Sharpay Evans from the High School Musical franchise to this feature length spin-off is akin to if James Bond arch-nemesis Blofeld got his own movie - a spin-off that sympathized with his evil characteristics while disregarding such antagonistic roots. Throughout the three High School Musical films this hero to all spoiled daddy’s girls has been a walking lesson in humility, consistently having to tone down her narcissism when it has become harmful to others (don’t take my word for it, just watch a special feature on this Blu-ray to hear Ashley Tisdale say it for herself).
This straight-to-DVD spin-off forms the character around the same lesson, continuing the strange reason for this character’s existence: she’s meant to speak to brats who emulate her Barbie-doll like appearance, and to tell them it's actually wrong to be selfish, etc. But before presenting this lesson in this particular movie, she endeavors into some really ugly moments of greediness. When her rooftop penthouse apartment doesn’t accept her dog, Boi, she opts out of staying there, and becomes homeless (termporarly, of course). When Sharpay moves into a modest second apartment, which she comes across minutes after losing her previous one, she finds it difficult to accept the drab colors of the apartment’s interiors, along with its simple design. Even in the beginning of the movie, as Sharpay is dancing on stage with flashing lights and handsome men, adoring fans approach her like this is all a dream sequence from the movie Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. In fact, the concept of singing and dancing, which is not an honest passion, has the same worth to Sharpay as it does to Precious – it’s popular, it’s fashionable, it’s an accessory.
Except this isn’t a dream in the movie. Even when Sharpay is bestowed her most unwelcome accessory in this story – humility – there isn’t an element when Sharpay truly wakes up from her own dream world, and enters reality. All of New York sparkles, and everyone's ridiculous Broadway dreams come true. It's wish fulfillment that neither helps a film's story, nor provides a positive influence to a child's idea of success. Sharpay has learned that sometimes the universe can stop, but it will always restart and continue to revolve around her. She's even more spoiled than how she began.
I know, asking a Disney Original Movie to offer some resemblance of what the real world is like is almost as pointless as a girl only carrying two bags of luggage (at least in the case of Sharpay’s mind). And yes, these Disney movies in question are more critically bulletproof than any other multiplex material. Films like Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure don’t aim to be any more than they appear, nor dare to shake up a general audience’s expectations with a surprising story element, or even a joke. Just as shining faces like Ashley Tisdale can be 100% manufactured by Disney, so equally can their full-length starring vehicles, and so on.
Yet, the small message within Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure is still lost within the flimsy story, which is unfortunate. A movie such as this can flaunt its bright colors and general optimism for the entire human race, but it shouldn’t take something so lightly. Especially when it is as serious as leaving your family to follow a do-or-die dream in a completely unfamiliar city that is full of much more evil than drab interior designs.
Adventuring out to the big city is not fabulous, kids.
MOVIE SCORE: 4/10
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