When I got the chance to see Joe Nussbaum’s new dramedy, Prom, I knew I was going to get all the cliche high-school scenarios that could be placed into an hour and a half thrown my way. What I didn’t expect was actually ENJOYING it!

Sure, it was predictable and silly. Yes, I’ve been-there-done-that. But if this is Disney’s answer to the crying pre-teens who miss Zac Efron and the rest of the High School Musical bunch, then I am so buyin’ it.

Nussbaum takes us through the whirl-wind that is “prom season” with several different students that are dealing with the typical dilemmas that occur around that time. We’ve got the sophomore struggling with his first big crush, the forever-couple planning their college futures, the naive girl with the skeezy boyfriend, and the focal point, Nova Prescott (played by Friday Night Lights beauty Aimee Teegarden), as she struggles to make prom night as special as it possibly can be for her senior class before she is whisked away into adulthood at a prestigious college. After a small hiccup, she is paired up with the school’s bad boy Jesse Richter (newcomer Thomas McDonell) to get the prom ready to go in time, but their polar personalities get the duo off to a rough start.

I was very impressed with the caliber of the new actors brought in for this movie, in particular Thomas McDonell, who gave a truly stand-out performance as the hunky rebel (it’s cool… he’s 24) with a soft heart. He delivered the sarcastic quips with a sharpness that surprised the laughter out of you, while simultaneously making your heart melt as you get to know what he’s all about. Move over Efron! This guy’s got facial hair!

Aimee Teegarden also gives a satisfactory performance as the over-achieving sweetheart,  Nova, and Nolan Sotillo is quite adorable as the nerdy sophomore chasing his first love. Not even the supporting cast held back as all gave solid performances in their own mini-stories.

Also note-worthy, the music playing throughout the film is very impressive for a Disney flick. Ditching most of the cheesy pop that is usually present in these types of films, and opting instead for a more indie vibe, Band of Horses and Passion Pit are a couple of many bands your ears will happily hear.

Prom does a great job of capturing the minor situations that feel like SUCH a big deal when your hormones are punching you in the face and the end of high school is approaching, which is a big part of this film’s charm. It delivers positive moral values without making you cringe at the cheesiness of it all, and provides comic relief with characters like the questionably chilled out “Rolo” that several generations can appreciate.

I tip my hat to Disney and Nussbaum for a refreshing re-creation of all the 90’s high school flicks I swore by in my angst-filled teen years, and definitely suggest you and the family check out Prom, hitting theaters August 29th in the US, June 3rd in the UK.