After my last review, I’m back to going through my DVD collection, this time with a recent purchase; Not Another Teen Movie.
You may question why I bought this, and I have no doubt that in a few years I will probably be asking the same thing. But what can I say? I work in a discount DVD store and I love me some Chris Evans. So with that in mind, here we go…
An image in this post depicts a scene from the film with nudity in it. Just so you know.
RELEASED: 14th December 2001
DIRECTED BY: Joel Gallen
WRITTEN BY: Mike Bender, Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson, Phil Beauman & Buddy Johnson
PRODUCED BY: Neil H. Mortiz, Phil Beauman, Mike Bender & Buddy Johnson
STARRING: Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressley, Eric Christian Olsen, Eric Jungmann, Mia Kirshner, Deon Richmond, Cody McMains, Sam Huntington, Samm Levine, Cerina Vincent, Ron Lester, Lacey Chabert & Riley Smith
It’s strange to think that in the past sixteen years we’ve slowly moved away from voice-overs in trailers. I wonder what that voice-over guy does with his life now that we just let the scenes from films speak for themselves?
Food for thought.
Not Another Teen Movie is the story of Janey Briggs (the “Pretty Ugly Girl”); her regular school life and her relationship with Jake Wyler (the “Popular Jock”), after his friends make a bet with him that he can’t make her beautiful and popular enough to become prom queen.
As the trailer above points out, if you’re a ‘teen movie’ connoisseur then a lot of the story beats in this film will feel like retreads. I, personally, am a bit behind with all my teen movie watching; sure, I’ve seen The Breakfast Club and Ten Things I Hate About You, but for the most part some of the genre jokes were lost on me. That’s something to consider if you’re wanting to get as much satisfaction as you can out of this film, but that’s not to say the film doesn’t have perks of it’s own.
There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in this film, and the cast give it their all. Chris Evans is charming and funny as ever, while his co-star Chyler Leigh hits all the right beats as the ‘pretty nerd’ archetype. Other stand-outs include Evans’ characters jock friends, who are bring some of the more unexpected laughs, and his family members, who keep hammering down a creepily amusing incest subplot (although a lot of that is amusing because it gives Evans another chance to shine as he has to constantly deflect his sisters advances).
Unfortunately, Not Another Teen Movie does have a tendency to succumb to the same sort of childish tropes that frequent other movies of the parody genre. For instance, Cerina Vincent appears as the “Foreign Exchange Student”, whose entire thing is that she’s European, so she’s overly sexualised, so she’s naked. That’s pretty much it. That’s her entire joke. She appears in a scene early on where Leigh’s character has to interact with her while feeling visably awkward, and later gets a follow-up where she’s at a party and some girl complains that they’re wearing the same outfit. Neither of these things really bring any chuckles, however, and probably the funniest part of it is how the subtitles are handled.
And even though we’re talking about full-frontal nudity here, that’s still one of the tamer fumbles of this film. Because unfortunately, like many of these movies, it does feel the need to engage in sex and scat jokes where they can, which, while those sorts of things can occasionally be amusing; it’s quite likely that the majority of this films audience aren’t children, and as a result, probably won’t find someone taking a shit all that amusing. And then seeing people get covered in said shit? That’s more gross than funny.
While I understand that some people are into scat and sex jokes (and that’s fair enough – they’re just not always for me), scenes like this take the focus away from the satirical element of the movies that actually work. They lessen the quality of the film, and give the more negative critics something to focus on, which, in the end, is what stops these films from reaching greater heights.
And so, as a result, I give it:
For being a fun film, with some strong, amusing performances, but for wavering in it’s focus.