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Bandslam (2009)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 98
Fresh: 79 | Rotten: 19

Bandslam is an intelligent teen film that avoids teen film cliches, in an entertaining package of music and coming-of-age drama.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 4

Bandslam is an intelligent teen film that avoids teen film cliches, in an entertaining package of music and coming-of-age drama.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 107,337

My Rating

Movie Info

A gifted young singer-songwriter recruits the new kid in town to manage her fledgling rock band in this music-driven comedy starring Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Gaelan Connell. Charlotte Banks (Aly Michalka) has what it takes to be a true rock star, and with the battle of the bands approaching she's determined to win. Her chief opponent in the upcoming competition is none other than her egotistical ex-boyfriend Ben (Scott Porter). Ben may be cocky, but there's no denying his charisma when he takes


Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy

Josh A. Cagan, Todd Graff

Mar 16, 2010


Summit Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (100) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (79) | Rotten (19) | DVD (3)

There is really just a lot to like here.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

These are characters that make mistakes, they redeem themselves, and they grow throughout the course of the film.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bandslam is hardly the definition of a great movie, but it is pleasant and bright and doesn't insult its audience's intelligence. And that's as rare and welcome as a well-crafted three-minute pop song.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tidy, heartfelt direction by Todd Graff (Camp); astute song references; and a David Bowie cameo transcend the formula underpinnings and keep Bandslam buoyant, gratifying and, yes, rocking.

August 14, 2009 | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie has a few good tunes and some charming comic dash, at least at first.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bandslam consistently exceeds current teen-flick standards thanks to its snarky humour, its strong musical sequences and its ability to convey the excitement the characters feel both about performing and forming new friendships.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A message that never gets old: On stage or in high-school hallways, sometime it's the losers that turn out to be the real winners.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Fun without too much camp.

October 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Moviedex

What keeps Bandslam afloat is the way its sweet moments find weird ways of stepping into convention.

November 4, 2009 Full Review

Though it wears out its welcome as it teeters rather than rocks toward the finish line, there is something inherently enticing in the old "let's put on a show" formula it utilizes.

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

The music is the movie's best feature, but even that's not much...

August 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

The barely hyped Bandslam must settle for simply being the best American movie this summer.

August 19, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Press | Comments (10)
New York Press

While it's pretty effervescent for the first hour, things really take a dire turn toward the end. The whole thing nearly becomes undone at that point.

August 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Though predictable, it at least tries to put on a fresh face to a tiresome old feelgood story.

August 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Bandslam is a mix of the icky, the corny and the comic, but there's no denying that it's fun.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

A witty, touching, cleverly plotted film with excellent music and it made me feel for the first time in years that I'd like to be an American teenager.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The characterisations are just a little unorthodox and the whole thing, despite a soggy middle during which nothing much happens, goes with an above average swing.

August 17, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

My 6 year old enjoyed it. I guess I would just like a little more effort from the filmmakers. Maybe worth a DVD rental, though.

August 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Sin Magazine
Sin Magazine

Dear Todd Graff: Thanks, man.

August 16, 2009 Full Review
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

"Bandslam" is a terrific family film that showcases the importance of constructive teenage friendship.

August 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Parental Content Review

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Screen It!
Screen It!

I would have had much more interest in this film if the cinematographer would have just handed the camera over to Vanessa Hudgens and turned her loose alone in her hotel room.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comments (12)
7M Pictures

You have to respect any movie that name-checks the Velvet Underground and assumes its tweenage viewers will get the reference -- or ask their parents later.

August 14, 2009
Kansas City Star

Audience Reviews for Bandslam

Witty, Emotional, and Funny! Bandslam soars above all the movies in it's genre. It has it's own certain style that grabs your attention and never let's go. When a sad moment come on the horizon, it is eventually saved by a happy moment that will put the biggest smile on your face. It is an amazing story of friendship and music. I loved Bandslam, and I'm going to be honest, it's better than I expected. In fact it is brilliant storytelling. Vanessa Hudgens and Alyson Michalka are amazing here and even Gaelen Connell who is an up and coming star from this film, is a decent actor himself. This is pure teen film with no swearing, but just enough laughter and emotion to keep adults interested. Bandslam ROCKS!
June 16, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Bandslam is clever, funny, charming, and insightful, and Gaelan Connell is a surprisingly charming lead, but it suffers from some odd inconsistencies in its story and tone. There's also an unhealthy dose of that teen musical goofiness we see too often.
June 13, 2011
Kyle F.
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer

Since "Sucker Punch" released today, I decided to review another film that stars that hot hottie, Vanessa Hudgens. "Bandslam" is one of the most poorly marketed films whose trailers looked like it was only going to appeal to Disney Channel's demographic. And this is coming from the studio that made the first "Twilight" look like it was going to be awesome. No wonder why it flopped upon its release. Not to mention that it was going up against "District 9" on its opening weekend. I eventually caught the film on DVD and I was proved wrong!

The plot follows a kid named Will who is bullied and alienated in his high school. After him and his mom move to New Jersey, he meets a weird girl named Sa5m (the "5" is silent), who is played by ever-attractive Vanessa Hudgens, and a popular girl named Charlotte, played by Alison Michalka. Their school is participating in a Battle of the Bands competition known as Bandslam. Will is a music geek so he forms his own ska band to participate in the competition.

"Bandslam" is not predictable tween-targeted garbage. This movie is actually too sosphisticated for tweens. It features smart, witty dialogue and like what the RT critical consensus says, it avoids cliches. It also avoids predictability. It also adds a good blend of coming-of-age drama. But the drama is not too edgy, folks. So don't expect Vanessa Hudgens playing a depressed, knocked up teen.

"Bandslam" is a movie for music lovers like me. If you love classic rock from the 70's and 80's than this is for you! And if you're a Gleek, give this a watch as well. Heads-up for all the "High School Musical" haters: nobody bursts into song in this.

This is a film you either like of love. As for me, I really liked it.

"I do feel like Clark Kent."
March 25, 2011
Movie Monster
Bentley Lyles

Super Reviewer

This has good reviews, but I couldn't say it did a lot for me, really. I was bored within half hour of it.
It is nice to see Lisa Kudrow in something new and I am sure this film is streets ahead of High School Musical etc, but I still felt I had seen it all before and done better. Also, I didn't really like the music. For supposedly "cool" teens with good taste in music, it sure sounded like everything else out there. I couldn't help comparing this unfavorably to Scott Pilgrim. (even though that is unfair and this is aimed at a younger audience).
Maybe I am just too old and have seen too many movies. Honestly , it is not awful, but due to the good reviews, I did expect something more.
December 9, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Sa5m: Do you ever heard a stutter laugh?
    – Submitted by Kamarul R (2 years ago)
    1. Sa5m: We need another minute.
    2. Will Burton: We don't have another minute!
    – Submitted by WillKai K (3 years ago)
    1. Charlotte Banks: Hey I'm Charlotte. Nice to meet you.
    2. Sa5m: I've known you since fifth grade.
    3. Charlotte Banks: Huh?
    4. Sa5m: You used to babysit me.
    – Submitted by WillKai K (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • College Rock Star (FR)
  • School Rock Band (ES)
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