Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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Film Review: 'Another teen movie,' but this one is likely to succeed

Following the Wayans brothers' ""Scary Movie,"" an example of comedy spoofs on tried-and-true film genres, ""Not Another Teen Movie"" attempts to satirize the ever-popular teen movie.

""Not Another Teen Movie"" follows the life of ""the pretty-ugly girl,"" Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh), as she slowly wins the heart of ""the popular jock,"" Jake Wyler (Chris Evans), after he bets ""the cocky blonde guy"" and ""the token black guy"" that he can turn her into the prom queen. Is this starting to sound familiar?

Following the ""She's All That"" formula, ""Teen Movie"" manages to imitate every teenage film from ""Sixteen Candles"" to ""Pretty in Pink"" to ""Bring it On."" The problem with trying to encompass so many movies is that it fails to flow and sometimes becomes hard to follow, especially if you haven't seen the movies it tries to mock.

Director Joel Gallen's first feature-length film, ""Not Another Teen Movie"" failes to be a movie that he ""was able to shape ... into a story and really develop."" But it does succeed, however, at being purely entertaining. Prior to ""Not Another Teen Movie,"" Gallen had mostly directed short films and produced concerts. His inexperience at directing full-length films can be seen in scenes that are more appropriate for television rather than movies.

The very young cast of newcomers, however, proved to be quite successful, despite the bad writing. In leading roles, Leigh and Chris perform as well as can be expected for a film of this genre. Both show the same amount of talent you'd expect from more ""seasoned"" actors like Freddie Prinze, Jr. or Rachel Leigh Cook.

The one person who nearly steals the show and shines in his perfectly casted role as Ricky (a take-off on the obsessive Ducky from ""Pretty in Pink"") is Eric Jungmann. Jungmann plays the obsessive and overly flamboyant best friend who is in love with Janey.

The equally energetic Jungmann said, ""[Ricky is] so head-over-heels, and you can just see it in everything that he does -- and in 'Not Another Teen Movie,' it's satirical.""

As Leigh said, ""It was very alive [on the set]. Obviously being young and an actor is a lot more difficult in my eyes ... but we had a lot of fun with it.""

This overall excitement and energy from the cast can be felt in every scene, as well as within the great soundtrack, which includes music from other teen movies such as ""Pretty in Pink.""

Although at times it's hard to watch due to gross visual gags and overly exaggerated comedy, it does provide an hour-and-a-half of mindless laughs. Humorous cameos by Paul Gleason, Molly Ringwald and Mr. T also make it more appealing, but they aren't enough to salvage the rest of the movie.

Not Another Teen Movie


Starring Chyler Leigh, Chris

Evans and Eric Jungmann

In theaters Dec. 14

Rated R

Film Review

The quality of a film is often negatively correlated with the number of genres it tries to straddle. ""Head over Heels"" could be described as a romantic-crazy-drama-comedy with action elements.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

It is the concept of one ""girl next door"" (Monica Potter) living with four models, and she just happens to be good-looking herself. OK, fine. This is America, after all.

Add living across the road from the vague exhibitionist Mr. Perfect (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who may or may not be a serial killer. Then progress to pile up the cliches at a higher rate than your average Bon Jovi lyric.

A sense of humor based on bodily functions and discharges can make for funny films. It's just that it's been done so much funnier, so many times before. That goes for every potential laugh-inducing element of this film: the makeover scene (""Clueless""), the spying on neighbors (""Friends"") and the list just goes on.

In the last instance, the film suffers from trying to do everything at once and never really manages to achieve anything. The only thing it has built to excess is the melodrama with quivering lips and knees.

The action scene has been toned down to an insipid level. The models try to act but become, at best, caricatures of themselves next to the more developed main characters.

Guys, they don't even have breasts, cause they're models, and models are too skinny to produce any luscious cleavage to speak of.

I tried to amuse myself by reading meaning into the Kate Moss-skinny script, but to no avail -- unless the statements ""Women can't be both beautiful and smart at the same time; they need men to save them"" and ""Men with foreign accents are villains"" count as anything worthy of ""meaning."" To me they don't.

If you do have an irresistible urge to expose yourself to this film, at least hold back until it's released on video, so you can cringe in the comfort of your own home. Or alternatively, go on Valentine's Day, because here's your chance to make out in the dark cinema without missing anything at all.

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