As a 40-something adult, this is the kind of movie that would usually send me running from the room. Of course, things change if you have a target-aged young daughter who comes home and tells you that her friends told her this movie is a MUST WATCH!! All right, so with much trepidation I agreed to sit and watch this with my daughter.
And what do you know? It turns out to be charming. No, there are no surprises here (except maybe that it IS charming and not just treacly pap, as are so many for-kids morality movies). Someone had the clever idea of making a musical for kids--a series of music videos tethered by a thin plot, really--and it works. I have to admit that I was fully won over when the basketball practice turned into a music number (Get'cha Head in the Game), with the stock sounds of basketball (squeeky shoes, etc.) cleverly mixed into the song.
There are a number of pretty good songs/videos in the movie, though my favorite is the Breaking Free duet that basically serves as the climax.
Much has been made about the question of whether the actors who sing these songs are really all that musically talented. It's hard to say without seeing them perform live, but most of these songs have clearly been enhanced by an autotuner, which suggests these may be actors with very modest singing ability (typical of the modern Disney stable, think Hilary Duff, Christy Carlson Romano, etc.) rather than singers who can also act.
But who cares? The songs are catchy and worthwhile within the context of the film and they sound fine and in-tune and catchy on the soundtrack album. I don't expect that these actors will be taking the production on the road anytime soon, so it really is irrelevant what studio trickery might have been used to get the songs to their final state. This album is a fine sourvenir of the movie, and is eminently listenable (and often a lot more than that).
This "deluxe" version of the original soundtrack (which is still available in the non-deluxe version at a lower list price) includes a second disc with CD+Graphics karaoke versions of most of the songs on the soundtrack (missing are the What I'm Looking For reprise and Stick to the Status Quo), plus a relatively worthless Disney tie-in video promoting their latest faceless lollipop group (B5) performing Get'Cha Head in the Game, and a little foldout "poster". If your kids (or you) are are into karaoke, this deluxe version is probably worth the extra bucks. Otherwise, there's not much added value. (The original version features the same karaoke instrumentals for Start of Something New and Breaking Free, but they are not CD+graphics encoded, which means the lyrics won't appear on your video-compatible karaoke player).