On the surface — or any other level — Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward don’t have much in common with the Vanessa Hudgenses and Zac Efrons of the world. And yet, in the brand-new [artist id="3133146"]She & Him[/artist] video (available on Pitchfork.com), they seem very much to be channeling the spirit of Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise (sadly, Sharpay Evans does not make an appearance).
The video for “In the Sun,” the first single off their upcoming Volume Two album (due March 23), is set in a fairly generic high school, has tons of dancing and mimics the Disney movies’ nostalgic tendency to portray teenage melodrama in various choreographed dance sequences.
Deschanel plays the clear-eyed heroine, a sweet girl hopelessly in love with the bad boy (M. Ward, who actually looks like he’s enjoying the role) and trying in vain to win his affections. She does this, of course, with a dreamy dance routine full of shoulder shakes and sly winks — patented Deschanel moves, as seen in their video for “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” — plus hula-hooping and the occasional lift. The fact that both band members are dressed in outfits lifted from the 1950s strangely works here. Teenagers’ hearts are still the same after all these years.
There’s a bright, joyous feel to the clip, thanks to the direction of Peyton Reed, who helmed the kinetic “Bring It On” (high school truly is his oeuvre), and the genuine look of thrill Deschanel sports throughout. She delights in each dance step, as if she can’t believe she’s pulling it off.
Of course, the song helps matters too. It’s another crackling, sunny bit of retro-pop from a duo who have quickly become the leading progenitors of the stuff. At the end of the video, we’re not sure if Deschanel is any closer to wooing Ward, but at least she had fun trying. The politics of high school should always be this easy.