While Disney releases it squeaky-clean “Prom” to theaters, MTV’s dirty “Worst. Prom. Ever.” makes do with a cable debut on Tuesday, May 10. It should be the other way around.
And whereas Disney’s version is free of sex, drugs and bad language, and thus geared toward people too young to go to actual prom, MTV’s revels in the raunch on a PG-13 level, thus geared toward people of the perfect prom age, but hopefully still too young to be doing any of the other things, although you know they probably are.
Mind you, aside from title punctuation, “Worst. Prom. Ever.” isn’t a ground-breaker, but its leads don’t make you want to punch them in the face, and one can’t say that about much of MTV’s original programming.
From “Mystery Team” director Dan Eckman, the spirited comedy utilizes “Breakfast Club” archetypes to detail a high school rite of passage gone wrong, in which one magical night just grows worse, à la everything from Chris Columbus’ “Adventures in Babysitting” to Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours.”
The overachiever (adorable Haley Ramm, “X-Men: The Last Stand”) spontaneously invites the bad boy (Nathan Keyes, “Ben 10: Alien Swarm”) as her date, only to watch her classmates turn on her as he flees with their purses. The nerd (Daryl Sabara of the “Spy Kids” trilogy) has planned the perfect night of romance with his longtime girlfriend (Angela Trimbur, “Halloween II”), only to get dumped via text before it even begins. And the popular girl (Chloe Bridges, “Camp Rock 2” and a Sofia Vergara in training) prepares to do the deed with her beau, only to find him vanished by the time she’s stripped to her skivvies.
And that’s the easy part. Before the after-party is through, they will have crossed paths with everyone from heavily armed drug dealers and obese prostitutes to the boys in blue of their local police department — from both sides of the bars.
The script by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas (who also penned the “My Super Psycho Sweet 16” film for MTV) stays on a fairly predictable course, but occasionally has some clever lines. For instance, Ramm’s four-point perfectionist conveys anxiety over her upcoming valedictorian address with “I’d hate to get up in front of the whole school with my participle dangling!” (On the other hand, the insults traded fall along the lines of “Hey, chin pubes!”)
More amiable and amusing than laugh-out-funny, “Worst.Prom.Ever.” is a good bet for summer-night distraction. —Rod Lott