Review

Not Another Teen Movie Review

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Dec 14, 2001 | 12:42pm EST

In staying true to the teen flick genre Not Another Teen Movie follows the unlikely union of "pretty ugly girl" Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh) and "popular jock" Jake Wyler (Chris Evans). Bedazzled by his own greatness Jake makes a bet with his friends that he can turn any girl attending John Hughes High into prom queen material. His friends immediately choose the overalls-wearing Janey as the subject of their cruel prank. Of course underneath those thick glasses Janey is a knockout waiting to be discovered. After a string of jabs at pretty much every teen movie ever made Jake the frivolous jock learns a valuable lesson and discovers he truly loves Jane the ugly duckling. While skewering the conventions of the genre provides a few chuckles here and there it is not enough to cement an entire movie together. Then again how much could be expected from a movie that uses teen movies as a blueprint for a story?

The cast of Not Another Teen Movie perfectly epitomizes the teen movie types from Mia Kirshner as "the cruelest girl in school" to Ron Lester as "the stupid fat guy." Chyler Leigh pulled off Janey's klutzy and sensitive sides with ease while Chris Evans easily played the all-American football star with a fuzzy tender side. The plastic looking Jaime Pressly was ideally cast as "the nasty cheerleader" as was Eric Christian Olsen as "the cocky blond guy." But how difficult is it to spoof two-dimensional characters in the first place? The fact that the actors are much older than the teen characters they portray was also a clever touch except it probably was not part of the parody. There are some funny cameo appearances like Paul Gleason as the high school principal and Molly Ringwald as a flight attendant. Perhaps her performance should be an ominous reminder to the cast of Not Another Teen Movie of what the future has in store for them.

Director Joel Gallen who has created and produced many shows for MTV including the MTV Movie Awards succeeds at making fun of teen movies in a clever way. All the stereotypes and clichés of preceding teen movies are there as well as some great references to John Hughes's films like the Anthony Michael Hall eating area and Harry Dean Stadium. Anyone who grew up watching films like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles will catch the references but those people now in their thirties are not likely to see this film. While teen audiences may get the '90s teen movie spoofs like 10 Things I Hate About You and Varsity Blues the entire John Hughes angle may be lost on them. Not Another Teen Movie also lacks the sophistication of the Wayans brothers' Scary Movie horror movie parodies which introduced fickle teen audiences to the genre. The ultimate spoiler however is the trailer which gives away the film's best moments.

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