A 2009 teen musical dramedy, music nerd and David Bowie fan Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) moves to New Jersey, eager to start fresh since he was bullied back at his old school in Ohio. Once there, he meets Sa5m note (Vanessa Hudgens), and Charlotte (Alyson Michalka), a former cheerleader who, impressed by Will's knowledge of music, takes him on as the manager of her band (later called "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On") as she tries to defeat her ex-boyfriend, Ben Wheatley, in a music competition known as Bandslam. The film also features Lisa Kudrow as Will's mom, Karen.The film became infamous for its questionable marketing strategy on the part of Summit Entertaiment, its distributor, who very much Disneyfied the hell out of it in promotional material.
This film provides examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Defied! A male competitor in the school starts giving orders to his buddies to ruin Will, but the Alpha's friends, appalled by his intentions, outright refuse, noting that he has no authority over them.
- The Cameo: DAVID. BOWIE.
- Chekhov's Gag: The only other indie rock guy at Will's old school is a scruffy dude who keeps flattening out his hair. He moves to a new school and one of the first people he sees is... another scruffy looking guy flattening out his hair.
- Chekhov's Gun: The video Sa5m singing that her mother shows Will.
- Decoy Protagonist: After Charlotte's father dies, Will learns that she started liking "outcasts" like him as an effort to change herself because her father disapproved of how she was when she was with Ben. Once he became ill, she changed in the hopes that her good behavior would cause her father to get better. After he passes away, she quits the band. Despite the revelation that Charlotte didn't sincerely like them, the band continues on without her, enlisting Sa5m as the new lead singer. The band does forgive Charlotte later on, once she Must Make Amends.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Dewey" for Will, and it is not Played for Laughs. See Old Shame below.
- Emotionless Girl: Sa5m. The pose cracks once a wedge is driven between her and Will.
- Fake Band: Enforced by I Can't Go On, I'll Go On and Ben Wheatley and the Glory Dogs, but averted with bands The Daze, ZEALE Rapz and Phranchyze, and The Burning Hotels. note
- Genre Savvy: "It's not like you're the Joker and we're your henchmen."
- High School
- Likes Older Women: Ryan, the drummer, who agrees to join the band once Will convinces him that Karen is his older sister. Karen is, needless to say, not entirely comfortable with this development... nor with wearing a low cut top to band practice.
- Old Shame: In-Universe. Will was called "Dewey" back in Ohio because his father is in jail for accidentally killing a child driving while intoxicated (DWI). Ben eventually finds out about this and uses it against Will.
- Sa5m used to stutter.
- Otaku: Will is a rock music nerd through and though. He isn't very outgoing about it, but Charlotte recognizes this side of him very quickly.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: I Can't Go On, I'll Go On.
- Second-Act Breakup: Will and Sa5m. This one's solved sooner than usual, though.
- Serious Business: Bandslam is "Texas high school football big" in New Jersey.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Sa5m is a Type 2 of this.
- Talent Contest: Bandslam.