Bandslam Reviews

Top Critic
Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
August 17, 2009
There is really just a lot to like here.
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Ben Lyons
At the Movies
August 17, 2009
These are characters that make mistakes, they redeem themselves, and they grow throughout the course of the film.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 14, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Andy Webster
New York Times
August 14, 2009
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.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
August 14, 2009
The movie has a few good tunes and some charming comic dash, at least at first.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jason Anderson
Toronto Star
August 14, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
August 14, 2009
An utterly charming work of pure pop exuberance, Bandslam is full of unexpected pleasures set to a surprisingly retro soundtrack.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
August 14, 2009
Simultaneously shiny and retro, calibrated and uncalculated, familiar and unpredictable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
August 14, 2009
The bonus in this modest charmer? Not a single major female character, including Will's single mother played by Lisa Kudrow, is subjected to the usual Hollywood rom-com demonization.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 14, 2009
In a goofily endearing performance reminiscent of the young John Cusack, Connell is charming and relatable. Likewise, Kudrow, as the overprotective mother who both fears and wants more independence for her son.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
August 14, 2009
Director Todd Graff does have a keen understanding of kids in the world of performing arts, as he shows here and in his earlier and better film Camp.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
August 14, 2009
It feels like a missed opportunity, but perhaps is a blessing since Bandslam's dialogue is much more pat than Hughes's quotable writing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ruth McCann
Washington Post
August 14, 2009
Rife with spirit-lifting scenes of teens singing their hearts out. And it feels just that good, in a quirky-smart way.
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Derek Adams
Time Out
August 14, 2009
'Bandslam' is far from exceptional, but is saved by decent character development, a cluster of engaging performances and several amusing deadpan moments.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Kara Nesvig
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 13, 2009
Instead of the vapid drivel you'd expect from their Disneyfied crowd, Bandslam turns out to be a charming (and well-soundtracked: Hello, Wilco!) little parable for the tween set about first crushes, friendship and like, duh, the power of music.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 13, 2009
The performances in Bandslam are uniformly strong -- good enough to make you wish this bunch of charismatic, talented kids had been given better material.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 13, 2009
Within the context of modern family comedies and the vast enabling wasteland of tweener TV, these people feel almost three-dimensional.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
August 13, 2009
Yes, the plot is totally predictable. But the smart script consistently tweaks the formula, allowing director/cowriter Graff to pull off the near-impossible: making a movie that neither sells out nor talks down to teens.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
August 13, 2009
Like a less oppressively hip Juno, Bandslam captures the way young people too smart and pop-culture-savvy for their own good let the music and movies they love define them during adolescence's crucible of humiliation and self-doubt.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
August 13, 2009
Part of me wanted to shove "Bandslam" aside for being aside as a teen-exploitation piece of junk about a ragtag bunch of misfits ... but, interestingly enough, it's just as cynical as I am (if not more so).
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 13, 2009
Bandslam had potential, but it succumbed to peer pressure.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 13, 2009
This isn't a breakthrough movie, but for what it is, it's charming, and not any more innocuous than it has to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 12, 2009
There's enough of a strong filmmaking backbeat in Bandslam to carry the movie's light tune.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Karina Longworth
Time Out
August 12, 2009
The movie is a far more convincing fantasy of performance-as-self-discovery than the High School Musical franchise.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 12, 2009
There's no edge, but if you're young enough to not know the original version of I Want You To Want Me, Bandslam may have charms enough to tickle your tweenage heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Nicolas Rapold
Village Voice
August 11, 2009
Todd Graff's film is written with a desperate cleverness that clamors for attention over the brainless against-the-odds music-competition plot.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
August 10, 2009
This savvy, music-fueled high school comedy really rocks.
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Rob Nelson
Variety
August 10, 2009
An awkward, earnest, almost irresistible indie.