Rated: PG

Distributed By:

Summit Entertainment/Walden Media

Directed by:

Todd Graff


Gaelan Connell as Will Burton; Vanessa Hudgens as Sa5m; Aly Michalka as Charlotte; Lisa Kudrow as Karen Burton; Scott Porter as Ben Wheatley; Charlie Saxton as Bug; Ryan Donowho as Basher.

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online


Will Burton can't catch a break. The nerdy, fatherless teen is harassed by bullies and doesn't like school. Then a sudden job change moves Will and his loving mom to New Jersey where he's able to use his love and knowledge of rock music. Punk. Ska. Progressive. Alt rock. Will knows more about U2 and The Killers than his own family. Once in the Garden state, Will manages to connect with a girl named Sa5m ("The 5 is silent," she tells him), who becomes his partner for a class project. He's also befriended by Charlotte, an ex-cheerleader, who's starting her own garage band and believes Will's keen ear can help it improve enough to compete in a regional battle of the bands. 

The movie's theme is that a difficult past can either knock a person out of the sky or help him soar to new heights. At key moments, each of the teens manages to rise above fear and pain by unselfishly choosing to stare down personal demons for the benefit of others.

Bandslam isn't without faults. A mixed-up girl prays to "God, the universe, anyone who'd listen." After doing a kind deed, a character says, "I am so going to heaven," falsely suggesting that salvation comes from doing good instead of by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God's name is used inappropriately several times, and the teens call each other names. Plus, there are a few kissing scenes.

But in the end Bandslam makes big points about forgiveness, cooperation, healthy diversity and refusing to be defined by our past hurts and failures.

Copyright © 2009 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com