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Not Another Teen Movie

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Not Another Teen Movie

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Joy Bisco
Director: Joel Gallen
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Lacey Chabert, Sam Huntington, Mia Kirshner, Chyler Leigh, Beverly Polcyn, Chris Evans

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Does Aunt Rose of Wichita still exist? If so, chalk up "Not Another Teen Movie" as another film you wouldn't want to invite her to. Let's assume, though, we're now living at a time that Aunt Rose from Wichita, Cousin Trudy from Peoria and Sister Flora from Helena are all now hip. Is "Not Another Teen Movie" a good bet for them--and for the rest of us? For the most part no. The trouble with this one is not that it's vulgar: the army of scripters and director Joel Gallen want it to be just that way and the marketing team behind them must have assumed that its large target audience do so as well. The problem with "Not Another Teen Movie" is that the majority of sight gags simply fall flat. They cry out for a laugh track because they're not about to get more than a few chuckles from the people in the peanut gallery.

Gallen's parody of pics that are already sendups takes the genre a step too far out, fashioning a film that is overwrought with gags about flatulence that fall flat, excrement that is excessive, teachers that are tyrants, cheerleaders who chafe, and would-be prom queens who are quarrelsome. At best, the movie is designed to make the 17-25 crowd feel accomplished if they can name the particular stories being sent up, teen comedies like "American Pie," "Scary Movie," "The Breakfast Club," a few from over a decade ago, and even an obvious take on the weird photographer in "American Beauty" whose idea of beauty is a scrap of paper floating in the breeze. Why five scripters were needed to this ribald piece of third-rate offal is anybody's guess.

Since poop jokes are appreciated by kids as young as second- graders, director Gallen tosses in both the most offensive and most rib-tickling scene as a group of high-school freshmen, peering through a vent in the ceiling at a coed relieving herself in the women's room, fall through the cracks leading to a cave-in on the classroom a couple of floors down. An English teacher is insisting that compared to Shakespeare and Moliere, what passes for literature today is pure excrement. What follows as the upstairs bathroom collapses, toilet falling through first, is a deluge of human waste scattering, of course, on the three peeping-Toms and the teacher as well, which might almost make the kids wish they were sitting in a quiet library reading Milton instead.

All the stereotypical students are here. Since we've seen them doing whatever stereotypical people do in previous films, most of the time we spend in the theater is redundant and tedious. Chyler Leigh performs as the pretty ugly girl who is a beauty under the glasses and the pony tail; and Chris Evans as the Freddy-Prinze Jr. jock type, though he really looks like a young Alec Baldwin. In other portrayals a "token black guy" actually does say something more than "damn" and "that's wack," a football coach does not say much more than "God-damn-it" which he repeats over a dozen times, and the lesbian scene--which does not quite compete with David Lynch's idea of one in "Mulholland Drive" featuring Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring--involves a high-school girl French kissing a woman about fifty years her senior.

Should we conclude that the picture should have been called, "Please! Not Another Teen Movie"? Not necessarily. With quality stuff like "American Pie" and even "Road Trip" (which scores because of a very funny Tom Green), this could have been better. Don't blame the genre. Blame the committee of five who couldn't do much for anyone in the cast except Randy Quaid as the drunken dad, the one guy whose ability to act actually tries to make something of the detumescent script.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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