Bottom line: Bandslam conveys a more meaningful theme about high school and fitting in than one might presume based upon the film's genre, stars, and target audience. While there is also less possibly offensive content in the movie than might be expected, some of the subject matter may be a little mature and/or uninteresting for young kids.MPAA Rating: PG, for some thematic elements and mild language
Guide Age Recommendation: 11+
Starring: Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell and Lisa Kudrow
Release Date: August 14, 2009
Bandslam - Summary
A somewhat socially challenged kid, Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) has had it rough at school, so when his mom announces that she has taken a new job, Will is not all that upset that they will have to move. As it turns out, Will gets really lucky; everyone in his new school is completely obsessed with his main love in life -- music. Will happens to enroll at his new school just in time for Bandslam, an intense battle of the bands that has the student body buzzing.
Surprisingly, Will also becomes fast friends with a couple of girls at school: Sa5m (the "5" is silent, played by Vanessa Hudgens), a pretty girl who has a few social issues herself; and Charlotte Banks (Aly Michalka), a popular beauty who is hoping to win Bandslam with her band and beat her ex-boyfriend Ben's (Scott Porter) band.
Before long, Charlotte finds out about the incredible musical talent Will's been hiding under a bushel, and she asks him to manage her wannabe rock band. With his ear for sound and his eye for talent, Will has the band blasting out a sound all their own in no time. But just when the band members think they may actually have a chance, tragedy strikes, and the past comes back to haunt them. Now that he has others counting on him, Will must find the courage to rise up from the disappointment and figure out who his true friends are.
Bandslam - Guide Review
From a parent's perspective Bandslam was somewhat of a pleasant surprise. The movie has got heart, and it a little less predictable than many shows that target older kids and teens. The movie actually has a similar "we're all in this together"/value everyone's unique contribution moral, much like Vanessa Hudgens' big first movie, High School Musical; however, Bandslam has a little more depth of emotion and a lot less catchy song and dance sequences, so it's not as fun for younger kids. Also, the film does contain some content that may be too mature for young kids.
Weightier topics such as death and alcoholism come up during the movie, and a betrayal among friends occurs that is hurtful and disappointing. Some scenes in which characters are teased or are upset by different situations may be slightly disturbing to young children. If nothing else, little kids may get bored because they don't understand or are not interested in these parts of the movie. In general, characters deal with many issues that typical teenagers do -- parent problems, friend problems, boy-girl relationships (the movie does contain a few on-the-mouth kisses between high-schoolers) -- and some issues that are pretty tense, like the death of a loved one. For more specific details about the content of this movie, please see the "Content Overview" below.
Bandslam - Content Overview*May contain spoilers.
- Violence (Low): Some students pick on others, doing things like mocking them, running into them or knocking them down.
- Sex/Nudity (Low-Medium): A few kisses occur in the movie, one of which is given by a girl who is merely teaching a boy how so he can try kissing the girl he likes later. One band member is into "older chicks" and digs Will's mom, thinking she is his older sister. She lets him believe this, coming to band practice and wearing low cut shirts so he will stay in the band (most of this is done for laughs, but it is still a little yucky). Also, one line in a song states that a guy "likes the girls that got the junk."
- Drugs and Alcohol (Low): It is discussed that a father spent most of his days drunk, and he eventually was imprisoned for hitting a boy with his car while drinking and driving (none of these events are shown).
- Language (Low): The phrase "Oh my God" and variations or other phrases using "God" are said. Minor rude words such as "idiots," "morons," and "but" are used.
- Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): Kids in the movie do things like sneak into someone's room through the window, break into an abandoned building, and drive really crazy. One girl says that she doesn't use her signal because "They don't need to know my business." Some kids are rude to and mocking toward others, and classmates are particularly mean to one kid whose father did something terrible. One young child is shown eating glue. Sa5m spells her name with a number, which some kids in the movie copy with their own names. Kids dance and mosh at a club.
- Scary Scenes (Low): Content listed under "violence" may be unsettling for kids.
- Sad/Unsettling Scenes (High): A character's mother reveals that her child was ridiculed and hated because of the horrible actions of his father. One character's father dies of cancer (we don't see him, just her grief after the funeral). Several tense scenes occur around kids mocking one character, and also around a betrayal among friends.
Bandslam Topics to Discuss
- After seeing Bandslam, kids may have questions about the following topics: alcoholism, DUIs, bullying, death, cancer, popularity, kissing, stuttering, being in a band, battle of the bands.