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8/17/2007 8:00 PM Eastern

High School Musical 2

Disney Channel • Friday Aug. 17 (8 p.m.)

Disney Channel’s much-anticipated sequel to the 2006 movie phenomenon High School Musical debuted on the network last Friday, though subscribers to Cablevision Systems and Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV were treated to a weeklong sneak peek at the tween-targeted song-and-dance telefilm via Disney On Demand.

In this era of video pirating and instant YouTube uploading of TV content, Disney took an awfully big chance in offering up unlimited on-demand access to HSM2. Viewer expectations for the movie have undoubtedly been high: Some industry observers predicted that HSM2’s premiere airing — which was promoted relentlessly over the past two months on just about every The Walt Disney Co.-owned media platform — could attract 10 million tween/teen viewers and their parents!

So what’s the verdict on HSM2? Pretty good, according to someone who’s right in the middle of the film’s target demo of tweens 9-to-14 years-old: my 11-year old daughter Iyana.

Here’s what she had to say:

I thought that High School Musical 2 was actually better than the first one.

The movie begins with the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation for the students of East High. The only problem is that the movie’s two main stars, Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) and Troy (Zac Efron), as well as their school friends are looking for summer jobs. All eventually get a job at a country club owned by the parents of Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale). Everybody knows from the first movie that nobody likes Sharpay and she doesn’t like anybody either — except Troy, the school’s basketball star.

The club has a talent show and Sharpay wants Troy to perform with her, rather than Gabriella. Sharpay is even more devious than before, and her efforts to steal Troy threaten to leave Troy’s relationship with his friends, and especially Gabriella, in the dust. I won’t say how it ends, but you can kinda guess how things eventually turn out.

The drama and emotion from the actors definitely improved from the first movie, especially between Gabriella and Troy, as well as Chad (Corbin Bleu) and Taylor (Monique Coleman.) Also, the singing and dancing in the movie had more energy and emotion this time around.

Overall, I think it is worth watching High School Musical 2 because it’s really a good movie. Oh, and also look out for quick appearances from some other Disney Channel stars in there too!

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