Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Not Another Teen Movie" Review

I was surprised to see while browsing that Amazon Prime Video had the 2001 teen comedy spoof Not Another Teen Movie in 4K UHD (albeit, no HDR), so I fired it up. I saw it when it originally came out, but probably haven't seen it again since buying the DVD in 2002, but have always remembered it fondly as an above-average parody of both then-recent teen movies like She's All and 10 Things I Hate About You as well as classic Eighties John Hughes movies  like Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club with heavy dashes of Cruel Intentions, American Beauty and American Pie among many others. (The Hughes connection is sledgehammered by having the school named John Hughes  High School and if you look carefully in the library, there's a Weird Science section.)

The central plot concerns football BMOC Jake (Chris Evans in only his 2nd movie role) being dumped by his girlfriend (Jamie Pressly) for a weird guy who's basically the Wes Bentley character from American Beauty. A teammate bets him that he can't turn an "ugly duckling" girl into a prom queen and selects as his project Janey (Chyler Leigh) who's from the wrong side of the tracks, has glasses and a ponytail, and absolutely disgusting (to Jake) paint-spattered overalls. (Janey is clearly a riff on Rachel Leigh Cook's character in She's All That of whom I remarked, "It's easy to transform an ugly duckling into a swan when she's got flawless skin and great bone structure," and the obligatory makeover scene calls this trope out.) Will Jake win the cynical bet or will he learn a Valuable Lesson about love and people? What do you think? The movie is so self-aware of this hoary cliche that when he makes his bets, they're exactly these conditions.

The rest of the movie is somewhat scattershot as it sometimes leans too hard into direct movie parodies with varying degrees of success and bounces from vignette to unrelated throwaway (like the Risky Business riff where a boy's parents are warning him not to have a party while they're away while kegs and a PA system are being loaded in around them), but it never gets too scrambled and if any specific segment annoys, it will be gone in a minute. A slightly larger issue is that now in 2020, many of the references are foggy memories citing movies from over 20 years ago. The immediate "this is mocking that" familiarity is gone.

But most gags work and there is a blink-and-miss-it cleverness in the details. For example, an early scene has a tour guide explaining to new students that at John Hughes there are no cliques then immediately says, "Let's get all you big jocky guys into a group here on my right and get all you slutty girls over here by me...and all you losers should hang out in the back. Take a good look at the kids standing beside you. They're going to be the only friends you have for the next four years." The five guys' varsity jackets spell out J-O-C-K-S and a banner in the background reads, "Welcome Prospective Cliques." A little obvious, sure, but funny. There's a great out-of-nowhere musical number setting up the prom finale, too.

The cast is uniformly good and there are a few meta cameos, though one may slip by due to the time factor previously mentioned. This sort of broad parody comedy can be tricky as actors have to calibrate just how aware they are of the humor, but it works. It's surprising that this is so early in Evans career - Captain America was a decade away - but it shows he's had a flair for comedy that being the Star-Spangled Avenger doesn't always showcase. (He showed his dramatic chops in Sunshine and more comedy in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.)

While revisiting Not Another Teen Movie I found that while it wasn't quite as good as I remembered, it's still a cut above other lazier parodies. It moves fast, has laughs in both smart and gross flavors, and it entertains.

Score: 7.5/10. Catch it on cable.

This trailer is surprisingly bad and also has several alternate takes not in the movie:

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy