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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

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Geared toward teenagers, this updated version of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" is fresh, sheer fun as the Stratford sisters - vapid, beautiful Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and crass, ill-tempered Kat (Julia Stiles) - confront romance at Padua High School. Confounded by her father's strict rules, Bianca, a sophomore, knows she cannot date until her older sister, a senior, does so her wannabe boyfriend (Andrew Keegan) bribes a sullen transfer student with an infamous reputation, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to woo the notorious Kat. The scheme becomes convoluted, of course, as the Bard of Avon leads the students on a merry chase. "People perceive you as a heinous bitch," observes the guidance counselor who spends most of her time writing a sex novel. "I prefer 'tempestuous,'" tartly replies Kat, who's reading "The Bell Jar." Screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith retain Shakespeare's morals and complicated conventions, while director Gil Junger keeps the pace fast, dodging cliches as often as he can. Bright young actors with fresh faces from TV shows enthusiastically strut their stuff as rebellious misfits, desperate malcontents, and prospective prom queens, discovering the truth about themselves and finding love amidst a surreal Tacoma/Seattle setting - and handsome hunk Heath Ledger from Australia seems headed for stardom. Above all, the music rocks, particularly "Save Ferris" and the Boston-based band "Letters To Cleo," as the dastardly cynical politics of high school are revealed. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "10 Things I Hate About You" is a witty, definitively cool 8. There's lots of sly, sophisticated, acerbic humor, even for non-teens.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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