Monday, March 23, 2009

Never Been Kissed (live action movie)

High school was a horrible time in Josie Geller's life. Her brother was one of the popular kids, but she was the school nerd, with bad hair, braces, a love of English and math, and a huge crush on the hottest guy in school. When her crush asked her out to the prom, she thought all her wildest dreams were coming true - unfortunately, the night was a humiliating disaster before it even began.

A few years later, Josie's a copy editor who'd love to write articles for the paper. She's also still a doormat, with no dates, no life, and a secretary who barely notices her existence. However, when she's told to go undercover at a high school and find something big to report about, Josie thinks she's been given a chance to overcome her previous high school mistakes. Alas, she is still a nerd, and it doesn't look like she'll be able to keep her job much longer either, if she can't find something to report about. She's horrified and torn when she's told to write a damaging expose about one of the school's English teachers, who seems to be falling for her even as she is falling for him. Things get even more complicated when Josie's brother enrolls in the school in order to help her out, easily posing as an ultra-popular high school student who used to date Josie before she dumped him (somehow, this instantly boosts her popularity level).

I remember enjoying this movie when I first saw it, but it didn't really hold up so well during my most recent viewing. Sometimes I wonder if the writers in Hollywood have ever been to high school, because I don't think I've ever met anyone whose high school experience was anything like this, and yet you see these character stereotypes in tons of high school movies. So many of these characters were just cardboard.

It was also a little difficult to watch some of the romances. I suppose I can get over Josie fawning over the popular teenage boy (while she's undercover, not the guy she had a crush on when she was a teen) - I'm guessing that most of that was due to her not-quite-dealt-with memories of the boy from high school. Still, it was a bit hypocritical of her to be lecturing her brother for dating a high school student (who thinks he's her age) when she was starting to do the same thing.

The romance between Josie and her English teacher (Sam Coulson, played by Michael Vartan) wasn't very well-developed - it really couldn't be, since this would have involved lovey-dovey scenes between a grown man and one of his students, who he thinks is high school-aged. The best the writers can really do, without turning the audience against their characters, is show how impressed Coulson is by Josie's intelligence and show how well the two get along. That, and there's the scene on the ferris wheel, which is as close as the two get to a romantic scene until after Coulson finds out Josie's true identity. How well you like their romance really depends, I guess, upon how much you like Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan. I liked Barrymore well enough in this movie, and Michael Vartan had that "cute nice guy" thing going, so I thought the romance was okay, but it certainly wasn't fantastic.

The thing that made my newest viewing the most difficult was all the embarrassment scenes. Some of Josie's experiences were so horrible I think many people (myself included) would've had a hard time just getting out of bed after them. Her prom experience, back when she really was a high school student, was cruel, one of those things that could damage a girl's self-esteem for years. Things don't go much better her second time around in high school, not until her brother enters the picture anyway, but nothing happens that's quite as bad as her prom night. I hate watching basically nice, sweet characters get horribly embarrassed, and there is just so much of that in this movie.

Overall, this movie is... okay. There are parts that I like, and parts that I think are funny, but there are also quite a few parts that I can barely watch. The romance only works if you like Barrymore and Vartan, and even then it's lukewarm.

My copy of the movie has no extras to speak of, just the theatrical trailer.

Watch-alikes:
  • Clueless (live action movie) - Cher, a rich, popular, and pretty Beverly Hills high school student, is inspired by her success at matching up a teacher to help a "clueless" transfer student named Tai find a boyfriend. As she makes over Tai and tries to find someone for her, Cher realizes that she, too, would like a boyfriend. Things don't always go as well as she'd like, but eventually she ends up with the right guy for her. Those who'd like another movie with a makeover and characters attempting to find love might want to try this.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (live action movie) - Bianca, a beautiful sophomore, is only allowed to date someone if her sister Katarina, a senior who loves feminist prose and hates conformity, has a date as well. Cameron, a new student at the school, wants to date Bianca, so his friend tricks Joey Donner, a pretty-boy jerk, into helping them. Joey pays Patrick Verona, a guy with a bad-boy reputation, to convince Kat to date him. What will happen, however, when everyone starts to untangle all the lies? Those who'd like another romantic movie in which characters eventually have to deal with all the lies they've told may want to try this.
  • The Wedding Singer (live action movie) - It's the 80's, and Robbie Hart is a wedding singer ecstatic about getting married - until he's dumped at the altar by his fiancee. He meets Julia, a sweet waitress at one of the events he performs at. He falls in love with her, but, unfortunately, she's engaged to be married. Robbie knows Julia's fiance is a cheating jerk, but will he be able to prove it to Julia in time? Those who'd like another romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore might want to try this.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the high school cliches are so often over the top!

    I had a bit of trouble with premise, too, with all the adult-teen romance stuff. I mean, the movie was enjoyable, but I had a hard time with the teacher character for even crossing the line as much as he did!

    ReplyDelete

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