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'Not Another Teen Movie!'

'Not Another Teen Movie!' aims about as low as the Earth's core

Friday, December 14, 2001

By Barry Paris, Post-Gazette Movie Critic

You know you're in trouble when you realize, right off the bat, that the film at hand is a parody/homage to Freddie Prinze Jr. -- and that "She's All That" and "American Pie" are considered "classics" of teen comedy.

'Not Another Teen Movie!'

RATING: R for strong crude sexual content and humor, language, drug content and nudity

STARRING: Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Randy Quaid, Mr. T, Molly Ringwald

DIRECTOR: Joel Gallen

WEB SITE: www.spe.sony.com/



The dullest part of a review is normally saved for last, but in the case of "Not Another Teen Movie" it's my favorite part, which is why I invert the order and provide it now -- THE CREDENTIALS:

First-time feature director Joel Gallen, an MTV product, made "Mariah Carey's Homecoming Special" for Fox. Female star Chyler Leigh's claim to fame is the TV film "Kickboxing Academy." Male star Chris Evans trained at Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute -- the Royal Dramatic Academy was evidently full that year.

On to the spoofy plot: Leigh is Janey, bespectacled outcast of John Hughes High School, whose football star Jake (Chris Evans) bets he can turn her into a prom queen despite the malicious machinations of head cheerleader Jaime Pressly ("Let's get one thing straight, this is not a cheerocracy, I'm the cheertator -- I make the cheercisions around here!").

By way of supporting players, Janey's brother (big-haired Cody McMains) has a bet and a need to lose his virginity by graduation; Janey's disgusting father (Randy Quaid) has a vanity license plate "DIRTPOOR"; a nudist foreign student (Cerina Vincent) has the name Areola; and an 80-year-old "undercover" student (Beverly Polcyn) has the gross-out lesbian French-kissing scene -- complete with long saliva strands -- of all time.

What else? Let's see...

The opening sex-toy-and-exploding-birthday-cake scene is succeeded by an exploding toilet. In this genre, explosions head the hilarity list, followed by incest, masturbation, scatological and fart jokes -- laugh riots, all.

Director Gallen, an '80s teen-flick aficionado, believes "all John Hughes' movies were brilliant from start to finish" -- "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," and the "Home Alone" movies. In his own movie, Gallen fashions only one truly funny sequence -- a pre-prom musical extravaganza.

"Teen Movie" aims not AT but miles BELOW the lowest common teen denominator. The model "Airplane"? Forget it. Not even Mr. T gets a proper laugh from his cameo appearance. Sophomoric? No, freshmanic. So bad, it's good? No. So bad, it's awful.

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