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Never Been Kissed (1999)
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Review Date: April 02, 1999
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Producers: Sandy Isaac and Nancy Juvonen
Actors:
Drew Barrymore as Josie Geller
David Arquette as Rob Geller
Michael Vartan as Teacher
Plot:
Rookie newspaper reporter is placed undercover in a high school to write an article about the "kids of today". Having been a major nerd in her high school days, Josie (Barrymore) tries to adapt to the hip, young kids, but finds the transition just as painful as it was in her original days.
Critique:
Generic, unoriginal, mildly amusing comedy, offers very little in laugh-out loud humor, but does give us several dynamic performances, and some surprisingly tender moments. Granted, there are only a handful of films coming out nowadays that offer much in original thought (RAVENOUS (8/10) is one of the few that plops right into my head), but a few wise-cracks about Archie, Betty and Veronica, do not a hip and unique script make. Fortunately for this film, it doesn't bore us, isn't too long, and it does give us a somewhat original ending, with a countdown conclusion that is definitely unique. Garry Marshall was also very funny in all of his scenes, but regrettably, he's only in a few of them. David Arquette also steals some thunder in his role as the cool brother, and Molly Shannon has at least one interesting sequence in a classroom.

Kudos go to Drew Barrymore for allowing herself to look this bad for this movie (Except in the prom scene, in which she looks absolutely stunning in that medieval dress). She is the ultimate geek, but I found her character to be a little too unbelievable and dorky. It seemed like she was made to be the ultimate loser, but I didn't buy it. I also didn't appreciate any of the other "geeks" and "hipsters" in her high school, because they were all drawn out of the same one-dimensional chalkboard that all of these teenage movies seem to manufacture. And this is despite Leelee Sobieski's solid performance as the head-geek. Add an upbeat soundtrack, a good-looking Luke Perry-wannabee teacher by the way of newcomer Michael Vartan, and you've got yourself another teenage high school movie of the week, with a sweet ending, forgettable characters, and what seemed like more drama than laughs. Your video machine will appreciate it, but your hard-earned bucks at the movie theatre will not. Oh yeah, and if anyone in Hollywood is listening, I think it's time to start slowing down the teen-flick machine. Me thinks it's starting to bubble over.

NOTE: One thing that was truly original about this movie was its closing credits. Alongside all of the names of the folks in the film, a high school picture of their days of young. Cute, if you dig that kind of thing.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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