Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Pretty much exactly like yesterday’s review of 10 Things I Hate About You, old review, same feelings, but I had to rank it lower now.  Just doesn’t age as well, and the humour is VERY on the nose.  But this was the first time I recognised Josh Radnor from “How I Met Your Mother”!

Directed by Joel Gallen (it doesn’t matter if you don’t know who that is, he’ll probably never direct another theatrical movie) and written by five different people, NATM is a send-up of all those wonderful John Hughes-directed movies of the 80s and the spate of them that came out during the Teen Movie Rebirth era of the late 90s. Five writers pretty much guarantees that the most popular of the teen movie genre will get nailed, and near as I can tell they all are.

If you look at the old DVD case for the movie, you’ll see that the characters aren’t exactly painted with broad strokes. Or is it that they are painted with broad strokes? Whichever means that they’re two-dimensional caricatures of your stereotypical teen movie characters, that’s what I meant, got it? Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh) is the Pretty Ugly Girl, Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) is the Popular Jock, Priscilla (Jamie Pressly) is the Nasty Cheerleader and so on. The basic premise of the movie is a direct rip-off of She’s All That, with liberal doses of Can’t Hardly Wait and American Pie as well. Hell, the original title of the movie – Ten Things I Hate About Clueless Road Trips When I Can’t Hardly Wait to Be Kissed – pretty much tell you which 90s movies are parodied.

The strength of a movie parody is whether or not it can evoke memories of the movies that it’s lampooning while also creating and maintaining it’s own identity and storylines. NATM hits all the right marks when it comes to sending up the genre, as well as paying homage to the movies and characters that inspired it. Then there are the movies that it just destroys, like the well-deserving Cruel Intentions, mocking their horridness rather than just lampooning it.

The cast fills their two-dimensional roles perfectly, hitting all the right notes when it comes to an unbelievable storyline. Thankfully nobody in the movie was too big at the time, so they all have an aura of humbleness about themselves, not bringing their egos to the table and basically making themselves look like idiots on screen. Jaime Pressly is barely in the movie but she knocks it out of the park every second she’s in a scene. Chris Evans plays the Freddie Prinze, Jr. part a little smugger and a bit dumber than Prinze did, which is exactly what the movie needed in a handsome leading man. The movie revolves around Evans and the gorgeous Chyler Leigh, and thankfully they were both perfect in their roles. Leigh comes across as a gifted physcial comedienne and I just wish she could find a project that would be successful and not get cancelled after less than 10 episodes.

NATM is not a perfect movie by any means. If you were never a fan of teen movies, chances are good that a lot of the jokes will be lost on you. It’s not a high-brow movie either, but it doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence by pulling punches. This movie is pretty much the reality of all those teen movie comedies that we’ve all known and loved over the years, and it’s a relatively well-made farce to boot, certainly better than any of those Scary Movie pieces of garbage.

3 / 5

I’d put a fun .gif in here but it would be NSFW and I don’t want to annoy anyone with tits.  I mean, I don’t want to annoy anyone at all, not just those that have tits, with a .gif of tits.  Whew.  Glad I cleared that up.

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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