Not Another Teen Movie
review by Elias Savada, 14 December 2001

As pseudo-self-referential titles go, the R-rated Not Another Teen Movie takes a slice of America's PG-13 laugh affair with apple pie (there's an amusing self-gratifying postscript with that classic dessert as "enjoyed" by Randy Quaid) and piles on scoops of poo-poo pleasantries. At a brisk eighty-three minutes, the film racks up lots of points on the prudometer. Depending on your social proclivities, you'll either roll with the incestially incestuous flow or run screaming to Jerry Falwell, who, no doubt, will offer you his condolences and condemnation. NATM is a well-paced pummeling of maybe a dozen of its tamer PG-13 pubescent comedies, dramedies, and sports melodramas. Heck it even takes a hand-held video punch at American Beauty.

This irreverent, flamboyant, carelessly carefree comedy offers many of the same cast members who populated the films it is lampooning, my favorite being Paul Gleason reprising snooty teacher Richard Vernon from 1985's The Breakfast Club, wherein he now extends hour upon hour upon hour of detention to a twenty-first-century brat pack, including Cody McMains (as Mitch Briggs), who bears an amazing resemblance to Judd Nelson, featured in the original scene with Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, and Molly Ringwald. The latter two see duty in NATM; the former merely by having a room named after him (Anthony Michael Dining Hall), the latter as a flight attendant with advice for the hormone-ravaged youngsters. Writers Michael G. Bender, Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson, Phil Beauman and Buddy Johnson (as contractually billed) and director Joel Gallen pay homage to producer-director John Hughes -- who started the whole 1980s teen angst genre -- with a complete high school named after him. They also steal a scene from Hughes' Ferris Beuller's Day Off, as well as borrowing Ferris' father (Lyman Ward) as another loony parent intent on offering a disbelieving son a girl just like the girl that married dear old dad.

Gallen, making his feature film directing debut after a decade producing MTV Video Music Awards shows and helming many of the show's short film spoofs, pieces together the large cast in an endless stream of raunchy sight gags and butt squirming episodes, pushing the envelope of good taste down the (exploding) toilet. Scripters Beauman and Johnson, who provided the film's first draft, contributed to both Scary Movies, so their hearts are squarely settled in the bowels of cinematic buffoonery.

And then there's the plot, ripped straight from She's All That. High school pretty rich boy jock and student body president Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) bets his chums that he can take the most hopeless girl to the prom and be crowned queen. Forgoing the school hunchback and the joined-at-the-heads Siamese twins, the target becomes Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh, not related to Rachel Leigh Cook, who had the same role in That). It's suggested that her unattractiveness is caused by oddish eyeglasses and a pony tail; frankly, it's just a weak plot point. She's truly a stunning ugly duckling who gets the film off to an pre-credit early-morning buzz with a visit from her l'il vibrator friend…and dad, little brother, grandma, grandpa, a priest, a parade of kiddies, and a sheet-stealing dog. Dad, of course, is played by Quaid, who further exploits the red-neck, drunken, unemployed slob of a character he playing in Independence Day, except here he never sobers up.

On the sluttish side are Jaime Pressly as the pretty-in-pink bitchy cheerleader Priscilla and Mia Kirschner as Jake's viciously sex-obsessed (think Cruelest Intentions) sister Catherine. And there are plenty of overboard stereotypical characters filling up the rest of the classroom: Malik (Deon Richmond), the pompadoured, self-realizing token black guy who has amusing cameo conversation with Sean Patrick Thomas (Save the Last Dance); Les (Riley Smith) as the none-too-symbolic Ricky Fitts weirdo; Ricky (Eric Jungmann) as the Janie-fixated best friend; Bruce (Samm Levine) the wannabe karate kid obsessed with the Perfect Ten Amanda Becker (Party of Five's Lacey Chabert); the Drew Barrymore ultra-over-age undercover reporter Sadie (Beverly Polcyn), who gets disgustingly tongue-tied with a fellow student; and Reggie Ray (Varsity Blues' Ron Lester) as the oversized, dimwitted football player caught between a concussion and a pot-smoking pig.

There's plenty of nudity, too. Particularly Italian exchange student Areola (Cerina Vincent) as one bare naked lady.

NATM offers more nonsense than sense to most of the scenes, as stitched together from various body parts (especially on the football field). This Frankenstein creation looks for enervating pubescent activation from straight-out flatulence rather than stylish electricity. But, damn it, I laughed, perhaps grudgingly, at most of the jokes. As for stringing you along, Theodore Shapiro's score endlessly teases you into a false sense of seriousness before hitting you on the head with a rubber hammer, including the ugly duckling-turned-swan episode wherein Janie is unveiled to her stunned admirers before collapsing in a bad stair day. There is a great show-stopping prom production number involving just about the entire cast that is the best part of the film. As for all other teenage and tasteful conventions, nothing is sacred. Not Another Teen Movie is Hollywood's answer to the Whoopee Cushion.

Directed by:
Joel Gallen

Chyler Leigh
Chris Evans
Jaime Pressly
Eric Christian Olsen
Mia Kirshner
Deon Richmond
Eric Jungmann
Ron Lester
Cody McMains
Ed Lauter
Paul Gleason
Mr. T
Randy Quaid
Molly Ringwald

Written by:
Michael G. Bender
Adam Jay Epstein
Andrew Jacobson
Phil Beauman
Buddy Johnson

R - Restricted.
Under 17 requires
acompanying parent
or adult guardian.




Buy Not Another Teen Movie - Double sided at
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Movie Poster at


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