I'm just back from seeing the new High School Musical movie with lots of little girls - we had about 10 of them, ranging in age from 4 to 13.
The HSM Brand is all about making Disney stacks of cash by tuning into the desires of young kids, mainly girls, and this new offering is likely to be every bit as effective as its two predecessors in doing so.
The movie is shallower than a Conservative Party policy document, formulaic, and entirely predictable, but is redeemed by being energetic, charming and full of catchy songs that I'll be hard pushed to get out of my head anytime soon.
I don't want to give out too much of the plot for the sake of my nieces and friends who haven't seen it yet, but it's safe to say that if Anna ends up in a relationship with someone who doesn't bring her chocolate covered strawberries to cheer her up, then I'll be very cross.
I can't help loving the HSM movies - yes, they're cheesy and trashy but they are enjoyable to watch. It is entirely idealised. Troy's dad is a teacher and they live in a mansion, for goodness' sake. I do quite like the innocence and chasteness of it, too. Although the innocence doesn't extend to the adults amongst us who are now starting to understand The Graduate. While star Troy BOlton doesn't do it for me, his mate Chad certainly does......
I can't help comparing it to its predecessors which came out when I was Anna's age. Grease, 30 years on, is still watchable. My 10 year old self didn't really get the more adult stuff, like Rizzo's pregnancy scare, until much later, and sure as hell couldn't understand why Sandy did that to herself at the end, but I grew into it as I watched it over and over again as I got older. I don't think that today's 10 year olds will be watching HSM with the same affection in 30 years' time.