'Teen Movie' fails where 'Scary Movie' succeeded
By Marshall Fine
The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News
|NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE
(Rated R for profanity, nudity, violence, sexuality) No stars. (Very poor).
An incredibly weak satire of teen movies, with barely a chuckle to be had. In a holiday season full of long, long films, this one makes 80 minutes feel like a lifetime. Starring Chris Evans, Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly. Directed by Joel Gallen. Columbia Pictures. 80 mins.
That might be because director Joel Gallen and his squad of five writers assume that the simple act of making a reference to another film is the same thing as making a joke about it.
Gallen misses the point about why "Scary Movie" worked. Keenen Ivory Wayans and his "Scary Movie" writers expanded upon their source material the "Scream" films and others in imaginative and absurd ways, turning them inside out to find wild humor.
Gallen and his so-called writers, however, merely mimic scenes from better movies, then add something inappropriate to the proceedings: gratuitous nudity, poop jokes, vibrators. For really big laughs, they name the institution where this all takes place John Hughes High School (named for the film director). Where do they come up with this stuff?
"Teen Movie" draws most of its inspiration from the Freddie Prinze Jr. film, "She's All That," a lame Pygmalion story about the most popular guy in school wooing the class bohemian as part of a bet. In this case, it's cool guy Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) trying to make a prom queen out of the bespectacled rebel Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh).
Before it's over, "Teen Movie" has cannibalized the entire Hughes teen canon (including "Sixteen Candles," "Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Some Kind of Wonderful"), as well as other examples of the genre: "American Pie," "Cruel Intentions," "Bring It On," "American Beauty" and "Risky Business," to name a few.
Once in a very great while, Gallen pushes the gross-out material to the point that he generates an actual chuckle. It happened twice, by my count.
When he wants to be really clever, he tosses in a cameo by a veteran of one of Hughes' films (including former teen queen Molly Ringwald).
Teen films obviously are ripe for satirizing. After seeing "Not Another Teen Movie," it's safe to say they still are. Even at a mere 80 minutes this one feels interminable.
Rated R for profanity, nudity, violence, sexuality.