“13: The Musical” is an ebullient crowd-pleaser about the pressure to wear a frenzied bar mitzvah, as young Manhattanite Evan Goldman (Eli Golden) rages on his parents’ ultimate party foul. It starts where you do. They divorced and the boy and his mother (Debra Messing) were forced to move into his grandmother’s (Rhea Perlman) home in Walkerton, Indiana. Jewish population. Nonetheless, his eighth grade of social climbing involved himself as a love advisor to the school’s most popular kids (JD McCrary and Lindsey Blackwell) and his first friends (Gabriella Uhl and Jonathan Lengel). discovered they were idiots.
In short, Evan worries that his religion makes him an outsider. In particular, one classmate, a terrifyingly funny shallow snuff played by Frankie McNelis, warns other students that the bar mitzvah is “a place where they make you speak backwards and get everyone circumcised.” But after the film checks out the expected city-versus-country grievances about bagels (none), cows (too many), and unsettling countryside silence (“I can’t sleep in such silence!”), Director Tamra Davis tells the film’s young audience about an overarching vision of America that quickly assuages anti-Semitic fears and most of the other anxieties of adolescence. Screenwriter Robert Horn not only enhances the bullying subplot in his 2008 Broadway book of musicals (co-written with Dan Elish), but continues until Evan doesn’t have to punch a football player in the nose. Dramatic plot points make little sense.
Still, Davis is a veteran who showcases youthful singing talent. Hanson’s music video for “MMMBop”.) She and cinematographer Adam Santelli turn the frame into a shoebox diorama for a dynamic cast that belts out and dances while looking directly at the camera. Every image is bright and colorful like a new box of crayons, but the kids themselves never look artificial, thanks to Jamal Sims’ naturalistic yet crisp choreography.
The Jason Robert Brown song isn’t bad either. Especially a bluesy number sung by a football team (“Bad News”), a feline rock ballad backed by a marching band (“Opportunity”), and a new Evan seducing his classmates into an R-rated horror movie (“Bad News”). “Bloodmaster”), a harrowing movie that hurts him and the class more than anything else happening on screen.
13: The Musical
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes. watch on netflix.