YouTube sensations Kurt Schneieder and Sam Tsui combine their talents into a musical which may have the tired old storyline of many a rom-com, but can be potentially enjoyable.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Both Cooper (Sam Tsui) and Jackie (Julie Shain) are what you would consider shy. Neither goes to parties and pretty much their social circle doesn’t extend too far past their roommates. However, like everyone else, they have crushes and with the possibility of someone breaking them out of their shyness, Danielle (Emma Barash), Jackie’s roommate, as well as Nate (Miles Jacoby), Cooper’s roommate, try to set their roomie up with the person of their dreams.
To begin, considering Tsui and Schneider are YouTube talents with a feature film now, you have to applaud the time and effort. Something which can be seen in the odd characters, who each have a personality of their own; what I can only assume is original music; and a script which may seem generic, but at the very least are performed by likable leads which lead to you being willing to forgive its predictability.
And focusing on the leads, it is hard to deny both Tsui and Shain could possibly have larger roles in the future. For whether it was their chemistry, the writing, or simply their look, both contain almost Disney character likability which makes it hard to not like them.
Though, again, the story is so predictable that it really does take away from the production. From Nate trying to make Cooper the ideal for his love interest Bianca (Allison Williams); to Cooper and Jackie coming together, fighting, and then Cooper seeking redemption; as well as how the Bianca situation is handled, everything just seems very textbook.
Then comes the music. Now, I’ll off the bat admit it is rare for me to like musicals. However, every song seems very inspired by famous Disney songs like “A Whole New World,” among other tunes, and I personally couldn’t find one which was good enough that I would even be remotely tempted to buy it, much less just stream it for free on YouTube or another platform.
And while it may seem to counteract the praise of how each character has a personality of their own, I must say that as much as the characters could appear interesting, at the same time they could appear as generic and dull as the story did at times. After all, Cooper is the lovable quiet kid in love with a hot girl; Jackie is the quiet girl, with a more socially active friend, who has a crush on a guy who never notices him; and then you have our male lead realizing that the girl he has a crush on is nothing like how he dreamed her up. Add in one really odd character, Lubo (Brennan Caldwell), who I guess is supposed to be funny, and a string of running gags, and then you realize that as much as this is an accomplishment for the YouTube stars, at the same time the only thing worth praising might be them getting the film done and not the film itself.
Overall: TV Viewing
I’ll put it to you this way. While I respect the time and effort put into gathering the money for the production, getting the cast, and writing the story, at the end of the day there isn’t anything presented in College Musical worth praising. For, take away the background of the director and stars, and you are left with a generic story, hardly complex characters, and Disney inspired songs which neither are comical, make you swoon, or bring you to tears.
However, with that said, you can see there is potential all around. Tsui and Shain could, either with time or a better script, grow into stars beyond the YouTube platform. Then, in terms of Schneider, while I am not sure what his directing and editing background is, it is hard to deny that with the right budget, and time, he could definitely create something interesting. Hence the TV Viewing label. For while this I certainly wouldn’t want to spend more than perhaps $5 on, at the same time this movie may just be the start of a great career for many of those involved. That is, outside of YouTube.