You’ve seen the backpacks, bought the pom poms and listened to the soundtrack albums, and – if you have a girl in the house between the ages of 5 and 12 – at some point you’re going to have to sit through the High School Musical movies, too. The first two (imaginatively titled High School Musical and High School Musical 2) were made for TV, while part three (High School Musical 3: Senior Year) was a tweenie hit when it was released in cinemas.
A distant, virginal relative of Grease and Glee, HSM (as girls in the know call it) tells the story of two high school juniors, sporting hunk Troy (Efron) and shy, smart Gabriella (Hudgens) who both try out for the lead roles in their high school’s musical against their friends’ wishes, and fall in cutesy love with each other at the same time. The sequel has them suffering minor bumps in the relationship road over the school holidays, while the third movie has the couple worrying about being apart when they go to college (but managing to cope by putting on a stage musical for the school).
To adult eyes, the movies are saccharine and a bit naff, but girls who have just about grown out of pink Disney Princesses but aren’t ready for more adult romances like Twilight will love them. Efron is cute as a button and about as sexually threatening as a fuzzy kitten, while Hudgens is perky without being too annoying. Together they are sweet (HSM fans were devastated when they split up in real life) in a trilogy of movies that are as light and fluffy as a little pink marshmallow.
Is High School Musical suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...