Rated 2.0

The new kid in a New Jersey high school (Gaelan Connell) meets the prettiest girl on campus (Aly Michalka) and molds her and her dweeby friends into a band for a local competition. Meanwhile, romance blossoms with a classmate (High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens). The script by Josh A. Cagan and director Todd Graff is muddled and trite, with dangling plot threads and running jokes, plus a trumped-up “secret” in the young hero’s past. (As if to underline the artifice, the average age of these “teenagers” is 23 and a half.) The music is the movie’s best feature, but even that’s not much—mainly noodly teeny-bopper drivel and bubble-gum cover versions of semi-classic pop rock. Lisa Kudrow (possibly the most underrated actress in show business) does a nice job in the thankless role of Connell’s concerned mother.