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10 Things I Hate About You

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate About You

Starring: Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik
Director: Gill Junger
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, Larry Miller, Allison Janney

Review by MrBrown
2 stars out of 4

It would be easy to do take the cutesy and oh-so-precious route and make this review a list of "10 Things I Hate About This Movie," but the truth is I didn't exactly hate this film. At its center, in fact, is a major thing to like: newcomer Julia Stiles, who effectively plays the improbably named Katarina Stratford, the "shrew" who comes to be "tamed" in this teen modernization of William Shakespeare's _The_Taming_of_the_Shrew_. Kat is mercilessly bitter with the world, and she's not afraid to show it--to her fellow students, her younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), and even her doctor father (Larry Miller). Even so, Stiles subtly instills enough underlying vulnerability to make her relatable to the audience.

Also relatable are Kat's reasons for lashing out; the characters that surround her are so vacuous, it's completely understandable why she wouldn't want to associate with them. These people include, in addition to Bianca, her shallow best friend Chastity (Gabrielle Union); Bianca's two suitors, egotistical model/actor Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) and dull nice guy Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); Cameron's geeky friend Michael Eckman (David Krumholtz); and, to a certain extent, the guy who eventually thaws our ice princess, mysterious loner Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger, who actually has some nice chemistry with Stiles). They're all nice, selfish targets for the full concentration of Kat's venom. The problem is, while director Gil Junger and writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith often let Kat bare her fangs, she is given little to no opportunity to actually bite. Though this is a reworking of _The_Taming_of_the_Shrew_, the scale is too heavily tilted toward the "taming" and not the "shrew." Anyone looking for the wickedness promised by the film's title or its taglines ("How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways" and "Romeo, oh Romeo, get out of my face") will instead find a light dose of bile and a strong one of the warm fuzzies.

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