A musical from the producers of High School Musical
, American Mall
has an abundance of great music and large choreographed dances, though many of the big production scenes seem forced and abruptly placed, especially compared to the seamless flow of its Disney predecessor. Pursuing one's dreams is seldom easy, and that's certainly the case for budding musician Ally (Nina Dobrev), having grown up in the mall at her mother's music store with a gift for songwriting and music aspirations, despite her mother's more practical plan for her to pursue a business degree. Ally's biggest problem is that she can't seem to finish her musical compositions, but that all changes when she meets night janitor Joey (Rob Mayes), a struggling rock musician who creates lyrics for her music and becomes her inspiration. The two develop a close relationship, but when the mall owner's daughter Madison (Autumn Reeser) threatens to close down Ally's mother's music store and steal Joey, his band, and one of Ally's songs to promote her new clothing line, Ally's life seems destined to fall apart completely. The storyline of typical girl, hot boy, and self-absorbed girl parallels High School Musical, Camp Rock
, and a host of other popular movies, but tweens and teens will nonetheless find both story and music compelling. Bonus features include two separate commentary tracks: one with the director and "The Janitors" and the other with eight cast members including Dobrev, Mayes, and Reeser. There are also deleted scenes, bloopers, a learn to dance segment with choreographer Bonnie Story, extended performances of "Every 10 Seconds" and "At the Mall," four music videos including "You Got That Light" by The Janitors, and an alternate film ending. If you liked High School Musical
and Camp Rock
, you'll enjoy American Mall
. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
The American Mall is the must-see television event of the summer, from the executive producers of the blockbuster High School Musical movies. The movie premieres on MTV on August 12, 2008 at 9:00 PM (EST). The American Mall Soundtrack is in stores on the same day as the DVD release of the movie. Set in the kind of mall that's always been a home away from home for teens everywhere, The American Mall is the story of Ally, a hardworking young woman whose mother has owned a music shop even since it opened when Ally was a kid. Ally's singer/songwriter dreams seem to come closer to fruition when she meets Joey, a musician who's moonlighting as a janitor at the mall in order to support his own rock star ambitions. Ally's happiness and the fate of the music store are threatened when the mall owner's spoiled daughter, Madison - who will stop at nothing to get what she wants - gets involved.