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Review: 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'

| Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

Someday, Troy and Gabriella will actually open their mouths when they kiss. Someday, Sharpay won't have backup dancers magically appear out of nowhere during her self-glorifying production numbers. But for now, everything about the "High School Musical" series remains safely wholesome and intact, even as it makes the leap from TV to the big screen.

All those winsome East High Wildcats are back from parts one and two of the freakishly successful Disney Channel franchise -- Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, et al. -- as are mad-genius director Kenny Ortega and writer Peter Barsocchini. Only now, they have more expensive toys to play with, so the production values are glossier and the musical numbers are splashier.

But even as Part Three wallows in nostalgia, with the kids preparing for prom and clinging to their senior year, it's also clearly meant as a launching pad for the grown-up career of the dreamy Efron; one big dance sequence makes it obvious why he was chosen to star in the remake of "Footloose."

Will it win any new fans• Doubtful. If you're not the parent, aunt or uncle of a 9-year-old, you've probably managed to keep the whole "HSM" phenomenon at the periphery of your consciousness, and you'll continue to do so. But for those kids in the target audience, this is, like, movie nirvana.

And the adults forced to schlep with them to the multiplex• They'll find it surprisingly tolerable. The "HSM" kids are so good-looking and high-energy, you may as well surrender to their manipulative ways.

• In wide release

Additional Information:

'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'

Rated G
Two and a half stars
(out of four)

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