If the predictable teen-movie stereotypes seemed stupid the first time around, they're even worse in Not Another Teen Movie.
Thursday, December 27, 2001
Hard on the heels of the teen-movie craze of 1999 arrives this tin-eared and often mean-spirited parody, which unites smart-alecky genre references with gross gags. Of the tag team of writers (no fewer than five are credited), two are from the Scary Movie franchise, so it''s no surprise that seem to be trying to break the land speed record for poop ''n'' piss jokes. Apparently there''s still an audience for this sort of thing, since the preview crowd roared with laughter when the film''s heroine was tackled by cops and Tasered.
Here''s a simple litmus test: If the thought of shell-shocked ''Nam vet Randy Quaid calling his teenage daughter "rugmuncher" and "pumpkin tits" amuses you, you''re an excellent candidate for this movie and need read no further. The daughter is Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh), an unpopular student at John Hughes High School and the object of a bet between BMOCs Jake (Chris Evans) and Austin (Eric Christian Olsen). Can Janey, stripped of her glasses and fawned over by a studmuffin, beat out a bitchy cheerleader (Jaime Pressly) for prom queen? A cookie to anyone who actually remembers that the heroine of the bland 1999 teen pic She''s All That (from which the scenario is borrowed) is Laney Boggs-you may find this setup amusing enough to appreciate the barrage of haphazard allusions to the likes of Porky''s, Pretty in Pink, Risky Business, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Never Been Kissed.
Look for a sexy exchange student (Cerina Vincent) to wear nothing but silicone, while Lacey Chabert apes her Party of Five co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt in slow-motion entrances cribbed from Can''t Hardly Wait. The filmmakers even dredge up Paul Gleason for another go-round as Richard Vernon, the smug principal of The Breakfast Club. It''s cute enough but without purpose. The subtler jokes hit their mark, and some are approaching actual satire (an inspirational locker-room poster advises, "Don''t fuck up," while a spirit banner alleges that the football team, the Wasps, are "rich with pride"). And there''s nothing wrong with Richmond as an African-American buddy so blatantly tokenized that he sports a different "ethnic" hairstyle in every scene. Unfortunately, the film is more invested in lowbrow antics: a pair of conjoined twins linked at the head, a "hippie albino folk singer," and a joint-smoking pig.
It''s most painful to see a likable young actor like Samm Levine (of Freaks and Geeks) pulling a paycheck as an Asian "wannabe" who speaks in pidgin ("This make me kind of happy in pants," he says, while peeping in the girls'' locker room). Nor has Hollywood figured out what to do with Mia Kirshner, who gives a nod to Sarah Michelle Gellar''s slutty turn in Cruel Intentions. She''s hardly a teen, and her pixieish perversity is too sophisticated to be wasted thus. Still, it''s possible that the film''s target audience won''t mind. Nor will they object to the nü-metal covers of songs by The Cure and New Order, which rub salt in the wounds of anyone old enough to have hit puberty in the 1980s.