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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 David Wilcock
2 stars out of 4

Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew' gets transferred to 90's America in this fun tale of romance. Julia Stiles plays Katarina Stratford, a bitchy 'hate chick' who's sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) desperately wants to date boys. However, daddy (Larry Miller) won't let Bianca date until Katarina dates, and there isn't much chance of that happening. Enter Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) who desperately wants to date Bianca. Of course, he can't date Bianca until Katarina dates, so Cameron and friend Michael (David Krumholtz) set in forth a plan to get weirdo Patrick (Ledger) to date Katarina. Not everything, however, goes to plan.

Writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith have delivered a script that makes Shakespeare actually quite good fun. The dialogue is funny, and the film goes along at a cracking pace. In fact, the film moves a little too fast, because some plot developments occur in a hurried way that aren't entirely believable. The largest casualty of the fast paced script is Katarina, who goes from independent chick to soppy, big eyed typical teenager in the space of seemingly a few days. The film also gives the current Hollywood saying, which is "if you don't conform, you won't be popular." A worrying trend. Still, the dialogue is fresh, and the jokes come out at a steady rate which gives the film a lively feel, and doesn't sound like the writings of a forty year old desperately trying to sound cool.

The actors are obviously having a good time with the material. Most of the cast have transferred from television, and are less brattish than some of the brat pack appearing on the screen at the moment. Stiles has great fun playing the easy role of being a bitch, and has fun running off the endless insults. Her characters a little flat, however, and her transformation is more than a little shaky. Still, she looks great, acts well, and handles the main role with ease. The hulking Ledger is good fun as the seemingly braindead Patrick, who's charm increases throughout the movie, until he becomes the most likeable character in a likeable cast. Gordon-Levitt suffers from the 90m.p.h script, and his character is therefore lacking. He gives a decent performance, but he never has enough time to truly shine on the screen. He also looks about thirteen years old. David Krumholtz is hilarious as the typical geek, and this, following his performance in Slums of Beverly Hills, shows he has a great comic talent. The pretty if empty Larisa Oleynik (also known as Alex Mack) makes the least impression in the movie, her performance is a bit boring and two dimensional. Allison Janey pops up in a bit role as the horny school counsellor, and like most bit roles gets all the best lines and disappears with her pay cheque.

The rest of 10 Things I Hate About You follows the standard teen flick formula. There's a glaring rock sound track featuring a good selection of rock tunes. There's the 'hip' school teacher, overplayed by Daryl Mitchell. There's a performance or four by a live band. And the film ends at a prom, and the weather is always good. It all seems a little too perfect, and for some people watching spoiled kids live out their spoiled lives holds no opinion. But it's better made here, and thankfully the characters are fully likeable.

10 Things I Hate About You is a worthwhile teen flick, directed with a bouncy flair by Gil Junger which gives the film a light, fluffy feel. The ending is obvious, the sentiment piled on. But 10 Things I Hate About You is a worthwhile movie that is good for a matinee.

Copyright 1999 David Wilcock

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