The word “prom” undoubtedly floods your mind with a myriad of images. From the general – taffeta, gymnasiums and limos – to the personal. Think back to yours. Did you snag your dream date? Do you even remember the theme? The meal? Did you boycott in the name of good taste?
When I think back to my own prom, I remember my pink ball gown (don’t judge), the God-awful decor (ours was titled “Wild Nights” and involved tables topped with lions and tigers and bears. Oh my.) and my friends’ post-prom beachfront suite (I grew up near the water in South Florida).
But of course, as with any prom, the real lasting memories are those final, carefree moments with lifelong friends, singing along to the tune of the moment and posing for photos destined to be carefully sealed in an album you’ll pull out every decade or so. And that’s what the latest Disney production, the aptly titled “Prom,” captures so well: The nostalgia.
Being a Disney film, it is predictably sanitized. Don’t go expecting the angst of “Pretty in Pink,” the snark of “Mean Girls” or the boozy partying of “Can’t Hardly Wait.” The relationships are wholesome, the controversies are mild and the characters are bubblegum.
Perhaps that’s why at its open, I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes every five seconds. In Disney’s high school world, it’s completely normal for guys to ask their best gal to prom using 8-foot light installations and human cheerleading pyramids.
The class president, conveniently named Nova, is a gorgeous (and smart!) blonde whose best friends represent every minority group, and the token “bad boy” has a heart of gold and looks like Johnny Depp. (Fun fact: This Depp double, Thomas McDonell, will actually double for Depp in Tim Burton’s upcoming adaptation of “Dark Shadows”).
But then something magical happens (and this is what makes Disney so damn profitable). About 20 minutes in, you can’t help but start to fall in love a little. You root for the dweeby sophomore whose beautiful crush happens to share his quirky taste in music. You understand Nova and support her quest to create that one, perfect night. You feel the heartbreak of sweethearts soon to be separated. In essence, you start to get excited for prom.
Let Disney help you relive yours -- Black-tie optional, of course.
"Prom" is playing at at 11:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.