Brooklyn Arden Review: "High School Musical 2"

I loved it, even more than the first one. The plot wasn't that suspenseful -- the outcome of the Temptation of Troy Bolton is never in doubt -- and it probably says everything about the real depth of the emotions here that after the big breakup scene, complete with a tearful jewelry handover, Gabriella runs to a minivan and gets picked up by her mom. But like the first movie, "High School Musical 2" tackles its protagonists' problems with absolute respect for the characters and no distance or irony, so it's truly and sincerely sympathetic to the children and preteens who are its primary audience; and from a production standpoint, the performances got better, the musical numbers got bigger (while I must say most of the songs seem to have been written by out-of-work composers for boy bands, particularly Troy's soliloquy-ish "Bet on It," I adore "You Are the Music in Me"), and the characters got deeper (Ryan and Sharpay, at least -- Gabriella continues to be about as interesting as her refined-sugar voice). And there is just something about people singing and dancing together in harmony that makes me incredibly happy. Hurrah for "2"; bring on "3"!