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TAB Review: High School Musical

Singing? Check. Dancing? Check. Teens squealing through a musical version of high school? You got it. What began as a made-for-the-Disney-Channel TV movie is now a DVD, perfect for those Sweet Sixteens and slumber parties where pink-clad thespians can ask who's cuter: Vanessa or Ashley, or whether Vanessa and Zac are right for each other, or who on the basketball team is the absolute dreamiest. I needn't answer all of these tricky questions for you: You can see for yourself in High School Musical, a simple yet earnest film about the making of... a high school musical. Our lead teens Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) are from opposite worlds but they meet at a Disneyesque vacation spot during an impromptu karaoke contest and discover, omigosh, they can both sing the daylights out of a tune. Surprise! After winter break is over, Gabriella shows up at Troy's high school (where he's best known as a basketballer, not a crooner), and they ultimately decide to tempt fate by going up for the school play. Uh oh! Trouble lurks in the form of Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), a conceited brother-sister team who run the drama department with a teenage iron fist. Who'll win the lead? And what of the big basketball game and the Scholastic Decathalon/academic excellence contest? You know where it's going, but High School Musical is surprisingly fun despite its obviousness. It helps that there are plenty of in-jokes (with a name like "Sharpay," it's gotta be good), and that the earnest cast members really want to make the film memorable. Some of the songs are appallingly great (with songs relating to real teenagers lives), but for the most part it's hummably decent. DVD extras include a sing-along mode, extra scenes, making-of footage, a music video of a deleted song, and a how to dance to of the song "Bop To The Top". More videos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes featurettes are also part of the best-selling Disney feature film. ... and now, another DVD arrives courtesy of the live concert series spawned from the movie (it never ends!). One show is put to film here (with the original cast appearing, sans Efron, plus copious lip-syncing) and packaged here, along with behind-the-scenes extras and a sneak peak at High School Musical 2. No, it doesn't ever end. Ever. Yayy!