Will becomes friends with both ladies, who also sing--huh, how convenient--and the cheerleader, Charlotte, promptly makes him manager of her band because he has a knack for music--not so much playing, but an extensive knoweldge of punk rock, indie rock, and David Bowie. His fascination with Bowie, which I FULLY support, even strays over into a lovely little narration in which Will crafts epic letters to his Ziggy Stardust idol about the shittiness that is his life. But, in this little fantasy film, the nerdy, music-lovin', non-instrument playing loser becomes rock 'n' roll genius as he helps turn Charlotte's band from a Letters to Cleo knockoff into an Arcade Fire knockoff, complete with a keyboardist, horn section, and cellist, called I Can’t Go On I’ll Go On--which sometimes sums up my feelings for this movie.
Not that Bandslam is bad, mind you--it's not. It's like a less witty, smart, and repressively smug Juno. The acting is pretty okay, and even has a small role for Austin's own Jason Street (Scott Porter), who shows fans of Music and Lyrics more of his musical talent (which are far superior to Hudgens' waifish voice) and acting chops. Although, it's a wee bit distracting to see Porter with actors a whole decade younger than him. Also, the rapport between Lisa Kudrow as Will's mom and Connell is pretty cute. Yeah, I said it--it was cute.
And, ultimately the theme of the flick isn't so much about rock 'n' roll or chaste HS romances, but rather learning to be yourself and have confidence in that--even if you're singing a quasi-cheesy ballad with a bassist named Bug, or merely on the sidelines.