Review Date: January 31, 1999
Director: Robert Iscove
Writer: Lee Fleming
Producers: Peter Abrams, Richard Gladstein, Robert Levy
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zach
Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney Boggs
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Taylor
High school stud and all-around cool guy, Zach, is unceremoniously dumped by his sexual alter-ego girlfriend, Taylor, and fished into a bet by his friends to surreptitiously attempt to turn the school dorkiest girl, into the high school prom queen in six weeks. While he attempts to do just that, he soon finds himself actually beginning to like this "nerdy" girl.
Cute movie that contains quite a few laughs off the top, an endearing couple as its leads, but ultimately falls into the trap of utter predictability and one too many serious moments for its own comedic good. Another small problem with this film is the fact that the apparent "ugly duckling" girl in this movie is actually quite cute, even before any sort of physical transformation occurs. The touted prom queen on the other hand, could not be any more one-dimensional, and bitchy, giving us very little reason to give a crap about her. Don't get me wrong, I did actually enjoy most of this movie, especially an amazingly funny and pointed "performance artist" presentation near its inception, and the charming performances put forth by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, who kept their characters interesting through most of this film's quick runtime.
One of my favorite movies of all-time, is actually quite similar to this one, in that a bunch of guys bet on who is going to bring the ugliest girl to a party. It's called DOGFIGHT (8/10) with River Phoenix and Lily Taylor, and it is more of a dramatic representation of the repercussions that may occur, when such a blatant lack of moral scruples strikes a couple who really like each other. This film does not even pretend to slice that deep, but does replace that lack of depth, with a slick soundtrack! :) And despite this movie being as predictable as 1-2-and ?, it does come through on its promise to fluffily entertain its target teenage audience with a hollow good time, some laughs, some semi-tender moments and a couple of appealing leads.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian