Making the Grades
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, Disney princesses have been a staple of girl lore for a long time. And their stories of overcoming hardship to live happily ever after have contributed to some pretty lofty expectations when it comes to real life. I’m sure I’m not the only girl sent to clean my room who longed for a handsome prince to whisk me away to a gleaming castle where someone else made the beds.
Yet those characters didnt just fall into the lap of luxury. Cinderella had to sweep and mop and wait on some pretty demanding stepsisters before she went to the ball. Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora was forced to live in the outskirts of the kingdom with three old ladies and Snow White cared for seven messy little diamond miners before her prince came to "steal a kiss or two".
Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), however, is a whole new incarnation of royalty.
She may have a great voice and some high school acting experience, but even better, she has fabulously wealthy parents (Jessica Tuck, Robert Curtis Brown) who can think of nothing more important than spending money on their fabulously spoiled daughter. When an invitation comes to audition for a Broadway play, we’re not surprised. After all, what else is a girl of Sharpay’s social stratum supposed to expect. However her dad seems suddenly worried about his little daughter heading off to the Big Apple—even though she won’t be leaving without a fully loaded gold card.
Exuding the kind of coddled confidence that comes from never being tested and always being praised, Sharpay arrives at the penthouse her father has rented for her only to discover they don’t allow pets. Then she learns it is her pooch Boi the director wants to audition, not her.
Stranded on the street with a gazillion pieces of pink luggage, things are looking a little bad for this modern day princess. Fortunately, the story follows the tried and true formula and a princely student filmmaker, Peyton Leverett (Austin Butler) gallantly comes to her rescue and finds her an underwhelming studio apartment in his building.
With her yellow brick road to success suddenly filled with potholes, Sharpay has to come up with another way to prove to her dad she can "make it", but she has only four weeks to do so (a tight timeline by anyone’s standards). If not, she’ll be heading back to Albuquerque to work at his country club—a fate so horrible she can barely choke out the horrendous "w" word.
If this adventure’s overdose of pink or Sharpay’s entitlement problems don’t squelch your appetite, there are actually a few redeeming points to the story, along with plenty of catchy musical productions. Only after Sharpay meets someone (Cameron Goodman) as self-centered as she is herself does the aspiring actress attempt a modest reformation. As well, brief bouts with a toilet bowl brush and a front load washing machine almost drive her to the depths of hardship endured by her princess predecessors.
Luckily for Sharpay, the screenplay gives the former antagonist from High School Musical a chance to step into the limelight as the heroine. And while most young fans won’t take issue with Sharpay’s easy road to success, parents might want to help their own little aspiring stars understand this is, in fact, a fairytale and it usually takes a lot of work to arrive at happily ever after.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.
What kind of work and effort is usually required for a person to succeed on Broadway? What things were other characters in the movie doing to achieve their goals? How realistic is Sharpay’s experience?
How do Sharpay’s parents contribute to her lack of preparation for living on her own? What does she learn about herself? Is it difficult sometimes to see how others view us?