"Get Over It," the new teen film surprisingly directed by Tommy O'Haver
(1998's "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss"), has enough offbeat elements to
distinguish it from the pack of cliched movies of its ilk that have been
released in recent years. The movie is predictable, and isn't particularly
original, but right from the opening credits sequence, in which singer
Vitamin C, accompanied by the residents of a suburban town and even a
marching band, perform a song-and-dance number to "Love Will Keep Us
Together" while following the main character as he walks sullenly down the
street, it becomes obvious that this isn't going to be just any ordinary high
Nice guy Berke Lawrence (Ben Foster), a high school senior, is crushed when
his girlfriend of sixteen months, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), dumps him.
Knowing her since they were still in diapers, Berke is sure that they are
soul mates and deserve to be together. Hurting him even more is that she has
begun a relationship with artificial former boy band member Striker (Shane
West). When Allison and Striker decide to try out for the school play, a
musical version of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night's Dream," Berke
desperately auditions, as well, in an attempt to woo her back. Coaching him
on acting, dancing, and singing is aspiring songwriter Kelly (Kirsten Dunst),
the younger sister of Berke's best friend (Colin Hanks), who also has a part
in the production and begins to grow strong feelings for him. In true
inevitable fashion, Berke is too involved in getting Allison back to notice
that the person right in front of him, Kelly, is his true perfect match.
While "Get Over It" is threatened into become a tiresome retread of 1999's
"10 Things I Hate About You" and 2000's "Whatever It Takes," the bright
performances and mostly non-stereotypical teenaged characters save the day.
Although Kirsten Dunst (2000's "The Virgin Suicides") is perhaps too talented
an actress to be wasting her time with material that is so obviously above
her, if I could choose any young performer to appear in my own personal teen
movie, it would be her. Dunst is not only extremely cute, but has the acting
chops to add depth to any part she is given. While her previous excursion
into high school territory, 2000's "Bring It On," was a better movie with a
more demanding role, Dunst lights up every one of her scenes, and also proves
to have a lovely singing voice.
Ben Foster (1999's "Liberty Heights") plays Berke, the main character, and as
such, he does well with the part and shows off a great deal of charisma.
Newcomer Melissa Sagemiller, as the aloof Allison, is also fine, and what a
refreshing change of pace it was to not have her be portrayed as a bitch, but
as a relatively likable person. Mila Kunis (TV's "That 70's Show"), as
Kelly's friend, Basin, is attractive in a small role, as is Kylie Bax (2000's
"Boys and Girls"), as a beautiful, but terribly klutzy classmate.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shane West shows zero of the magnetism he
presented in 2000's "Whatever It Takes," although, to be fair, it isn't all
his fault. West's Striker is a shallow, distasteful individual with no
redeeming qualities. Zoe Saldana, so wonderful in last year's "Center Stage,"
is wasted as Allison's friend, Maggie, and R&B artist Sisqo, as another
friend of Berke's, gives an amateurish performance, to say the least. His
appearance proves to be nothing more than a gimmick to draw his fans in, as
his character could have been discarded completely without any change to the
story at hand.
What really raises "Get Over It" above being just mediocre is Martin Short
(1999's "Mumford"). As the tell-it-like-it-is theater director Dr. Desmond
Forrest-Oates, Short is hysterical in every scene he's in. When he's not
saying something funny, his brilliant facial expressions alone are, and it is
a genuine treat to watch his comedic talents flow so joyously. This is almost
an Oscar-caliber performance, and something that comes as completely
unexpected in the film.
While not all of director Tommy O'Haver's stylistic choices work (the
occasional leaps into the fantasy world of "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" grow
annoying very quickly), his heart is always in the right place, and his
ambition is admirable in a genre that is admittedly so worn out. The original
songs, written by Marc Shaiman (1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer, &
Uncut"), are a lot of fun and also aid in raising the movie to a higher level
than it otherwise would have gone. "Get Over It" isn't great, and it isn't
deep, but it doesn't aspire to be. It's a lighthearted, frothy entertainment
that goes down with ease, and is something that I am pleased I saw.
Special Note: Could someone please tell me when Carmen Electra's name is
splashed on all of the ads and posters for this film, when she is onscreen
for literally three seconds and has one line of dialogue. She does reappear
during the music video over the end credits, but why? And even more
mysterious, why did she choose to appear at all when her role is little more
than akin to being an extra? Just wondering. On second thought, maybe I
should just get over it (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Copyright © 2001 Dustin Putman