Rehashed musical concept fails in ‘Standing Ovation’
Is “Standing Ovation’’ worthy of one? Hardly.
An obvious derivative of the “High School Musical,’’ “Glee,’’ and “Step Up’’ franchises that have been seducing tweens for years, this low-budget film from writer-director Stewart Raffill (“Across the Great Divide,’’ “Mac and Me’’) is processed cheese molded into a series of loosely related, sloppily choreographed, and inexplicably auto-tuned dance numbers. Parents and anyone beyond adolescence will find it an intolerable attempt to cash in by imitating films they’ve seen before. The movie does have 20 original songs, but they are largely forgettable. Even the target demographic is unlikely to be sufficiently amused.
The plot is little more than a series of cliches: Five 12-year-old girls (played by an assortment of newcomers and unknowns) follow their dreams of stardom via a music video contest in a world where money and fame solve all problems and not a single human interaction reaches the depth of a kiddie pool. What the film lacks in substance it tries to make up for in made-for-TV kitsch. Overacting, cringe-worthy dialogue, bad camera work, and gratuitous effects abound. One dance number, which features youngsters vomiting on one another as part of a sabotaged music video, is titled “Scream.’’ Audience members could be forgiven for doing so.
The worst flaw of “Standing Ovation’’ is that it lacks the sincerity of its better influences. Silly plots and endlessly repeated adolescent tropes aside, there’s no reason a film like this can’t at least be heartfelt, offering likable, relatable characters experiencing a glorious triumph through music, dance, and friendship. Here, the frenzied bass of the songs alone cannot provide that energy.
Taylor Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.