If Nick and Norah's 12-year-old sisters had added a few tween-friendly songs to their infinite playlist, the resulting mix would be the more pop-friendly Bandslam, a movie that might make for a convincing indie if it didn't star two Disney alums.

If Nick and Norah's 12-year-old sisters had added a few tween-friendly songs to their infinite playlist, the resulting mix would be the more pop-friendly Bandslam, a movie that might make for a convincing indie if it didn't star two Disney alums.

A surprisingly strong Vanessa Hudgens (of High School Musical fame) stars as outcast Sa5m - "the five is silent," she says - the first person to befriend introvert Will (Gaelen Connell) at his new school.

The second is Charlotte (Aly Michalka, half of pop duo Aly & AJ), ex-head-cheerleader-turned-garage-band-singer who recruits the music-loving Will to manage her band, which he christens I Can't Go On I'll Go On.

Charlotte has plans for I Can't Go On to win Bandslam, a tri-state high school band competition that offers a contract to the winner, defeating her ex-band and arch-rivals Ben Wheatly and the Glory Dogs.

Before the film becomes predictable, it actually manages to be cute, clever and completely engaging. Much of the charm comes from newcomer Connell, especially when he's forced to be excessively awkward or geeky. His first kiss with Sa5m is delightfully dismal, but he makes up for it later when the pair share a moment in the now-defunct New York club CBGB.

The kids in the audience may not get the reference, but they'll certainly get the emotion.