Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Joel Gallen
Stars: Chris Evans, Chyler Leigh, Molly Ringwald, Paul Gleason, Ed Lauter, Mr T.
Movie genre spoofs are generally hit and miss affairs (Scary Movie, Fatal Instinct, etc), and Not Another Teen Movie is no different. A scatter gun send up of the cliches and plot mechanics of the adolescent, high school genre, Not Another Teen Movie is a an erratic affair, which sometimes hits the mark with unerring accuracy but at other times falls decidedly flat. The film is full of in-jokes and sight gags that take the mickey out of a genre that is, admittedly, a pretty soft target.
The free wheeling plot centres around a popular jock (Chris Evans) who makes a bet that he can transform a plain looking geek (Chyler Leigh) into the prom queen. The film uses recent hits She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You as its template, but the film is crammed to over flowing with send ups of most recent teen flicks, including the whole Freddie Prinz jr catalogue, American Pie, Never Been Kissed, Bring It On, Cruel Intentions, and even American Beauty. There is even a genial nod of acknowledgement in the direction of John Hughes, who virtually pioneered the modern teen movie in the ’80’s with films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles, etc, although it is doubtful that many of today’s young audiences will even recognise some of these moments.
The film itself is set in John Hughes High School and the cafeteria is playfully named the Anthony Michael Dining Hall! There is even a self-effacing cameo from Molly Ringwald (a staple of Hughes’ films), plus brief appearances from Paul Gleason, Ed Lauter, and Mr T that add to the irreverent flavour of proceedings.
Director and co-writer Joel Gallen certainly knows the genre, and he and his largely unknown but enthusiastic young cast gleefully tear the familiar cliches to shreds. Everything from the bitchy politics and rivalries of high school, through to the stereotyped characters, the football games, and the climactic prom night when all is resolved come in for a pasting.
Not Another Teen Movie is irreverent and fast paced nonsense, but will not be to everyone’s taste!