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Originally published October 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 24, 2008 at 1:00 PM

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Movie review

"HSM3": Like, cute and all, but "déjà vu" (we just learned that in language arts)

(Since reviewing "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" as an adult didn't make much sense, here's a fictitious diary entry, written by a...

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2.5 stars

"High School Musical 3: Senior Year," with Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Alyson Reed. Directed by Kenny Ortega, from a screenplay by Peter Barsocchini. 100 minutes. Rated G. Several theaters.

("High School Musical 3: Senior Year" opens late Thursday night, Oct. 23. Since reviewing it as an adult didn't make much sense, here's a fictitious diary entry, written by a once-real 11-year-old girl)

Dear Diary,

Omigod! I saw "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" last night! It was totally cute, and just like the other two. I mean, you could watch any "HSM" movie and, you know, lose track of it because you're texting or something, and it won't matter because everything that happens is EXACTLY the same as the other movies. Troy [Zac Efron] and Gabriella [Vanessa Hudgens] are still smiling at each other, like, all the time. It's kind of their special thing. Even when he sneaks into her bedroom at night by climbing up onto her balcony, all they do is smile at each other. I can't wait until I have a boyfriend to smile at. (But if Gabriella is supposed to be so smart, why does she just smile all the time? Shouldn't she be, like, studying or something?)

So, it's senior year, but nothing is different at East High except maybe Sharpay's hair extensions, which are totally awesome and kind of steal the movie because they're so much bigger than she is. (Note to self: Ask Mom if I can have hair extensions, please please please.) All the kids are wearing cute primary-colored outfits and worrying about college and prom and stuff. And Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed), the drama teacher, has come up with a cool idea for the spring musical: It'll be called "Senior Year," and it's all about the East High kids in their senior year, as they deal with college and prom and stuff.

A weird thing about "High School Musical 3" is that sometimes you can't tell if what the kids are doing is the movie, or the musical in the movie, or sort of both at the same time, because the kids sing all the time anyway. Like, the girls sing and dance when they pick out their prom dresses and then we see that they're on stage and it's a musical number, but later at the real prom they're wearing THE SAME DRESSES. (Even though Taylor's dress is really ugly!) My sister, who is in high school, says this is called Surrealism or something, and I'll learn about it when I'm older. I think she's full of it. It seems more like MTV to me, except that everyone looks like they just showered.

So, Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) gets all bitchy about the spring musical and tries to steal Gabriella's song. (Doesn't she always do this? If Gabriella's smart enough to get into Stanford, why isn't she smart enough to figure out Sharpay? And why is Sharpay exactly like Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde," except crankier? I have so many questions.) And Gabriella and Troy sort of split up, because they always do, and Taylor gets mad when Chad asks her to the prom, and Gabriella looks sort of pregnant in her prom dress but nobody should worry because this is a Disney movie. Everything works out! Everyone's hair looks great! Some of the kids end up at Juilliard! I hope real high school is like this. Please don't tell me if it isn't.

Luv,

Moira

Moira Macdonald, who went to high school back when girls wrote diaries instead of blogs, can be reached at 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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