Friday, May 20, 2011

Are you ready to go back to high school?

Never Been Kissed
Director: Raja Gosnell
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Michael Vartan, David Arquette, Mollly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Leelee Sobieski
Released: April 9, 1999

This is the only teen movie I've reviewed where the main character isn't a teenager (notice I said character and not actor). Drew Barrymore plays Josie Gellar, a mousy editor at one of the large newspapers in Chicago (I forget which one) who is assigned to go undercover as a student and check out what high school kids are up to and what they think is relevant. So 25-year-old newspaper editor Josie transforms into 17-year-old high school senior Josie and enrolls at a nearby public school where Jessica Alba and James Franco are students.

Her boss (played by John C. Reilly before he became well-known) wants her to befriend the popular kids because he thinks they're where the stories are. The one problem with this is that Josie isn't sure how to do this because back in her high school days, she wasn't just painfully unpopular, but was also unaware of how nobody liked her and it just made me cringe because I've known people like this in my lifetime. She was called "Josie Grossie" by the other students and was subjected to a very cruel joke when the boy she had a crush on asked her to the prom. Of course any person could see he was going to play a horrible prank on her, except for her (and her equally dorky friend) and he ends up throwing eggs at her when he drives by her house in the limo with his real date. Ouch.

Mean girls
At first, Josie befriends a nerdy girl played by Leelee Sobieski who invites her to be part of the school's math club, the Denominators, but has to ditch her when her boss tells her to befriend the popular girls.

Michael Vartan (who is also very familiar with playing people going undercover) plays the English teacher, Mr. Coulson, who becomes very smitten with his "student", Josie. It becomes a tad creepy because, remember, he thinks she's 17! Since Josie is always wearing a hidden camera, everyone at the newspaper is always watching what's going on and her boss wants her to do a story about student-teacher relationships. I don't understand why Coulson was so mad when he found out the truth about Josie. Okay, so he probably wasn't happy that she was planning on writing a story about his inappropriate relationship with a student, but she wasn't going to do that in the first place, and she's 25, not 17! He should be happy that he wasn't flirting with a 17 year old!

He doesn't stay mad at her very long and realizes that he's in love with her and she gets her first real kiss and finds her first true love. Awww.

Is there a party scene? Affirmative. 
Is there a prom scene? Affirmative. Their prom was really weird, though. They were going to go with the theme "The Millennium", but once they found out another school was also going  to have the same theme (gasp! "The Millennium" as a prom theme in 1999???), they decide to change it to "Famous couples in history" and people come to the prom dressed as couples such as Romeo and Juliet, Mary and Joesph, the hare and the turtle...but that's not all. Josie's brother (David Arquette, who is also posing as a student) dresses up as Tom Cruise from Risky Business, so he's wearing no pants; a group of guys come dressed as the Village People, so they're wearing no shirts, Jessica Alba and her clique come dressed as Barbie and one of them is Malibu Barbie so she's only wearing a bikini. Leelee Sobieski and her nerd group come dressed as strands of DNA. WTF? This is the prom, not a Halloween dance! You wear formal crap to prom, not costumes! 
Is there a football scene? Negative, but baseball is an important plot point to the film.
Is there a makeover scene? Affirmative, but it's shown off-screen. Josie makes herself over when she enters high school (again). 
Is there a scene where all the different high school cliques are being shown? Negative, the only two main cliques there were shown were the popular kids and the nerdy kids. 
Was this movie spoofed in Not Another Teen Movie? Affirmative. They have this woman who is obviously in her 50s pose as a high school student. 

Do I own the soundtrack/favorite song - Yes, the soundtrack is really good and the best part is I got it for free because my friend burned it for me, yay! I like all the songs, but my favorites include "Candy in the Sun" by Swirl 360, "Erase and Rewind" by the Cardigans, "Lucky Denver Mint" by Jimmy Eat World, and "Watching the Wheels" by John Lennon.

Darkest scene - Definitely the cruel joke that was played on Josie when she was in high school. Even though they tried to play it for laughs, it was pretty brutal. Most disturbing scenes were Mr. Coulson hitting on his student.

Favorite line - When Leelee Sobieski tells Josie that she wants to go to Northwestern, Josie says, "I went there! Uh, I mean, I went there to use the bathroom once." 

Favorite character -  I enjoyed Molly Shannon's character who worked with Josie.

Favorite scene -  It was totally a cliche, but I did laugh when Molly Shannon's character comes by the school to visit Josie and it just so happens that a guest speaker is supposed to talk to the students about sex-ed during English class (why English class, I don't know) and Mr. Coulson sees her and mistakes her for the guest speaker. It was much, much funnier than the time Gwynnie the Pooh was on Glee and was teaching the kids about sex through freaking singing. Ughhhh.

Hey, it's the '90s! - Cell phones look ridiculously outdated,  soundtrack is very '90s, several shoutouts to the class of '99 :-)

And speaking of shoutouts to the class of '99...

1. Many teen/high school movies came out in 1999.
2. The song  that told people to "party like it's 1999."
3.  Buffy Summers is an alum from the class of '99.
4. Bella Swan is not a graduate from the class of '99.
5. "You Get What You Give" by the New Radicals was released when the class of '99 were seniors.
6.  "Graduation Song" by Vitamin C may have been released for the class of 2000, but it was recorded and probably written in 1999, so I like to think that she got inspiration from the class of '99 for that song.
7. At my school, our class was the last who could leave campus for lunch as freshman.
8. Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" was released in the spring of '99 and has advice for graduating students.
9. While there were many teen movies that came out in '99, it was also a great year for movies in general.

Okay, I know I'm reaching with some of these reasons, but I'm saving the best for last!

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