Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Spoof movies had a strong beginning with the likes of Airplane, Naked Gun, and of course the works of Mel Brooks. By the 90s and 2000s, the genre began to open up to anyone who could pick up a camera, mostly to detrimental effect. The rise of the Scary Movie series gave new life, but also brought the genre to its worst period. It was during this time that we got Not Another Teen Movie, commonly regarded as one of the best of its time...

Popular boy Jake Wyler has it all, but after being dumped by bitchy cheerleader Priscilla, he decides to show his friends how he can make any girl the next prom queen, no matter how pathetic and desperate. Albinos or conjoined twins aren't extreme enough, so he picks Janey Briggs, a girl so hideous she has paint on her overalls. He begins to prep her for his bet, but soon enough a genuine romance grows between the two. But can it withstand the truth? And can Janey become prom queen?...

Not Another Teen Movie is a ridiculous, crude, raunchy love letter to teen rom-coms. It's got all the cliches and tropes you expect from the genre. The ugly duckling becoming beautiful the second she takes her glasses off, the frustrated virgins making a pact to get laid, and a variety of conflicts and misunderstandings, climaxing in a mad dash to the airport, to profess all your feelings before your love flies the coop forever.

While the plot here never takes itself too seriously, it has heart to it. As a kid I always felt the movie started feeling more like a genuine rom-com the further it went it. It hits all the bases so well that if you cut out all the jokes, it'd still work as a pretty good, albeit cliched, romantic comedy.

As a parody, Not Another Teen Movie is a real success. It lampoons these other films mercilessly, but in a good-natured way. I like that it never lets any one film dominate, and the references all serve their own little parts in the story, but never to the point where it becomes distracting. It also combines elements/characters together for expedience (like Ducky with 10 Things I Hate About You).

Another important thing it does is not let the film hinge on being a parody. If you haven't seen one, or any of the films parodied here, it won't get in the way of the experience. I still haven't seen Cruel Intentions (or Varsity Blues for that matter), and that's never got in the way.

Not Another Teen Movie parodies many films from the 80s, and captures the feeling of that decade, while also still being modern. It never tries too hard, and is quite comfortable

Being an 'old school' sex comedy, Teen Movie has plenty of salaciousness on display. The film can range from actually sexy (such as the perpetually nude foreign exchange girl, or for the ladies there's a nude Chris Evans in whipped cream), to pretend, to scarring-for-life. Scenes like the 'Never been kissed' bit, Jake's lascivious sister, and of course the infamous toilet scene would definitely put off more sensitive viewers. One thing they can't deny though, is that they leave a lasting impression! And they don't dominate the whole movie either. I also appreciate that it acknowledges the horny side to nerdy girls, and treats it very casually!

The humour here might not be to everyone's taste, but there's plenty of it to go round. There are many memorable moments, and the dialogue is frequently hilarious, not to mention quotable ("You have her eyes"). The slapstick is great, and it also pokes fun at how movies portray token black characters.

The direction goes hand in hand with the comedy, and there's a lot of work done here. Bits like Jake and his picture are framed perfectly, and help the jokes succeed.

The cast here do a great job! Chyler Leigh is a nice lead, understated in some scenes, and over-the-top in others. Chris Evans is hilarious, playing the role as a typical teen heart-throb, then getting almost Shatner-esque deliveries elsewhere. While he's since gone on to greater acclaim, I think his performance here trumps many of his later works. Jaime Pressly is delightfully bitchy, while Mia Kirshner plays it all so straight as the sexpot sister, to great effect. Eric Christian Olsen is amusingly smarmy. Cerina Vincent is funny, and delivers a...dazzling performance, bound to captivate everyone! The movie has a few cameos, from Paul Gleason, to Mr. T, as well as an unexpected treat in the ending. They're just big enough moments to be worth it, but not so much that they're rubbed in your face.

Lastly, the film has an extended version floating about, which I don't really recommend. The extra scenes are decent in their own right, but don't add much and kinda ruin the flow. You can easily see why they were cut, and the film is better without them. Better as a DVD extra to watch after.

Not Another Teen Movie is still one of the best parody movies of the 2000s, and I know that's not saying much given the total lack of quality in the genre's worst decade, but this still stands above the rest. Just as funny today as it was then, it's highly recommended...

No comments:

Post a Comment