Thursday, December 13, 2001

Big mug of cheap cheer

Movie: Not Another Teen Movie

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2001 at 4:00 AM

***1/2
Our Rating: 3.50

Sorry, but even the most jaded movie reviewers sometimes guffaw at gross-out humor. And even if it appears in a hastily made parody, anyone who has sat through a dozen or more films intended for teen-agers would laugh at the "instructional first kiss" scene in which everything gets stickier and stickier.

They'd also laugh at the adolescent boys peeking into the girls' locker room scene which, instead of being mammographical, becomes extremely intestinal. And then there's an interruption in the action by Molly Ringwald, in which she offers instructions on how and what to say when making up. Of course, if any of of the above amuses you, then you'd also get a giggle from the working title of "Not Another Teen Movie," which was "Ten Things I Hate About Clueless Road Trips When I Can't Hardly Wait to be Kissed."

It's questionable whether the viewers of these type of flicks -- or anything else from the Freddie Prinze Jr. oeurve -- will get all of the inside humor of this project. At least the parts derived from 1980's gems "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (look for Spicoli's TV Repair), "The Breakfast Club" (the original Mr. Vernon monitors detention) or anything starring Ringwald.

Those who did see all the movies from which pieces were appropriated will notice the plot, lifted straight from 1999's "She's All That," in which the popular jock at John Hughes High School, in a twist on "My Fair Lady," accepts a bet to turn the "uniquely rebellious" coed into a prom queen.

The casting leans heavily on the popular "Varsity Blues," also released in 1999, contingent, complete with overweight linemen and token blacks. In short, "NATM" hopes to do for teen romances what last year's "Scary Movie" ( did for the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" epics. Chances are it'll make the same quick box-office splash, then fade faster than acid-wash fashions.

Chris Evans plays Jake, the jock; Chyler Leigh plays plain Janey. Jaime Pressly, herself a veteran of "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Tomcats," plays the head cheerleader. And Cerina Vincent plays Areola, the foreign exchange student, as she should have always been played all along, in the nude. Randy Quaid, Ed Lauter and various other familiar faces turn up doing mostly awful things, as director Joel Gillen, an MTV producer, and his committee of writers try to push everything against type.

In that sense, "NATM" is a one-note flick, the one note being everyone doing something they didn't in their original roles ("Airplane!" it ain't). It would work best if "NATM" lasted oh, say, 30 or 40 minutes. But that's scarcely enough time to order pizza, which, served at home with other jaded friends and beers, is probably the best accompaniment to this spotty, only slightly inspired and occasionally amusing fluff.

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