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Columbia Pictures
Official Site
Director: Joel Gallen
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Brad Luff, Michael Rachmil
Written by: Mike Bender, Adam Jay Epstein
Cast: Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Mia Kirshner, Randy Quaid, Jaime Pressly, Deon Richmond, Cody McMains

Rating: out of 5

Whether or not you like to admit it, parody is an art form. It takes talent to ape earlier ideas without seeming unoriginal. It’s more than just a visual thing; the success of parody rests on familiarity of scenario and concept, on ironic detachment that doesn’t quite transcend fondness, and on the ability to provide a new form of entertainment that isn’t entirely dependent on its subject of parody. This is why there is a fine line between the good spoof and the embarrassingly bad one. Filmmakers all too often cross this line when they try to go for broad instead of particular humor.

This is made painfully obvious with the new “comedy” NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE. Replacing actual humor with a constant parade of tasteless sight gags and twisted-psychotic dialogue (SCARY MOVIE, can you hear me?), TEEN MOVIE proves once and for all that the gross-out comedy has had its run and should now be retired at least until the definition of “gross-out comedy” can be retooled to include something resembling funny.

To describe the plot of this film would be basically to combine the plots of SHE’S ALL THAT and CRUEL INTENTIONS. The Popular Jock (Evans) is dared by the Cocky Blonde Guy (Paul Walker look-alike Eric Christian Olsen) to transform the Pretty Ugly Girl (Leigh, her ugliness defined in teen movie fashion by “glasses, a ponytail, and paint-covered overalls”) into a prom queen. Meanwhile, the Cruelest Girl (Kirshner, perfectly capturing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s every tick from CRUEL INTENTIONS; Kirshner, in fact, is the one performer here who escapes with a modicum of dignity, despite an unfortunate make-out session with a geriatric woman that will have you cringing), who just happens to be the sister of the jock and who also has incestuous interests in said jock, has made a deal with him that stipulates his surrendering himself to her every sexual whim if he is unable to convert the girl from zero to hottie.

v But this isn’t to say that other films are off the hook. From 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU to VARSITY BLUES to AMERICAN PIE, to even the originals themselves, the Brat Pack movies of the ’80s, no teen movie in recent memory is able to escape the barbs of these filmmakers’ wit. It’s just too bad that this wit so often involves such uninspired toilet humor (one set piece actually involves a toilet spewing all over an English teacher in the middle of class). A few scenes, notably a brilliant BREAKFAST CLUB detention-scene send-up and a sequence at one point where all the principal cast members break out into full GREASE-style musical theatrics, have a life beyond the uninspired juvenility of the rest of the film. Near the end, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE pulls a trump card with a surprise cameo from a well-known Brat-Packer as a grouchy airport clerk fed up with the clichéd dialogue that teen movies have so often employed over the years. It proves to be an insightful smart-ass commentary on the state of genre and formula in film today that illuminates all this film could have been, but, in the end, chose to avoid for the box-office success ensured by the old fart joke.

—Cole Sowell

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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