I know at least six full-grown women who love Grease 2. I also know two women and one gay man who adore Xanadu. Hell, I know one lunatic who thinks The Wiz is better than The Wizard of Oz. And I'm certainly not immune: You know that live-action Popeye musical? I love it. So it seems that just about every movie fan has some weird taste in musicals every once in a while. Which brings us to the out-of-nowhere phenomenon hit that became a global virus a few years back when "just another" made-for-Disney Channel movie debuted ... and became that hottest kiddie sensation since, like, The Cabbage Patch Kids. (Yeah, I'm old.)
But I get "camp," I can get behind "corny," and I certainly don't see anything wrong with a family-friendly musical movie that's freshly-scrubbed and patently homogenized. Having said that, I thought the first High School Musical was a real trial to sit through. On the pain scale I'd put it somewhere between novocaine-free root canal and finding your wife in bed with your dad. So if you're one of those die-hard High School Musical pod people, you might want to stop reading this piece right now. Because if it's me you're asking, the sequel's even worse.
But first here's a recap of the saga so far, courtesy of Disney supporter and mother of five, Kim Voynar (who gave me this synopsis as part of an IM conversation and has no idea it's being used here): "Gabriela and Troy met at a New Year's bash while singing karaoke. Much like in Grease, he thought he'd never see her again, but then she miraculously ends up attending his HS when her mother gets transferred. She's a science geek who just wants to be normal, he's a jock who secretly loves to sing. When they decide to audition for the school musical, which Sharpay and Ryan have dominated since kindergarten, it sets off a chain reaction of high school clique clashes in which science geeks dare to talk to jocks, jocks reveal secret (strange) desires to sing and dance and cook. And it threatens the Entire. Social. Structure. of East High. Sharpay tries to undermine Troy and Gabriela by getting the drama teacher to schedule callbacks at the same time as the Science Competition AND the basketball Big Game. (Which is oddly scheduled at 3 in the afternoon and not at night.) So the geeks and jocks have to work together to help Gabriela and Troy audition, by rigging the clock at the game to shut down. And a science competition experiment to cause an evacuation. The Geeks and Jocks Unite! We're All in This Together... Which leads us to ... Summer! Summer!"