OK, there was the totally predictable and the necessary unrealism, but my kids were G-L-U-E-D to it, commenting over and over again that "this is way better than the first one." They were right.
It was fun, set up conflict, resolved it and played on classic high school relationship pettines in order to culminate into a classic for years to come.
Taking the show off the high school grounds was genius. HSM1 took that backdrop about as far as they could. The country club backdrop was fun and afforded them more latitude for developing (OK, developing is probably an overstatement) the characters and moving the cliche into a fresh setting.
The best move was pitting Ryan and Sharpay against each other. There is good cause and effect in relationships and they did a decent job of exposing the consequences of selfishness, showing the seduction of fame, and the value of friendship.
There were lots of bathing suits, but I have to say that they were modest. There was no pushing of the envelope with the dress in ths show and that made a huge differece. In fact, there was no pushing of any envelopes. The classic comparison to HSM is Grease. But I think that there is no comparison. Grease pushed the envelope in order to be cool. HSM looked at the envelope and shrugged. Why? Because classic high school themes are not at the extremes of the adolescent experience, they are at the mean.
HSM2 is a hit and will be for years to come.