Not Another Teen Movie (2001) — Captain America’s shameful years

“She’s got glasses! And a ponytail! And she’s wearing paint-covered overalls! Ugh!”

Justin’s rating: Don’t you forget about me. JUST DON’T.

Justin’s review: How. Dare. They. Is nothing sacred in this world anymore? I mean, OK, make fun of air transportation disaster flicks. Sure, it’s searingly painful to everyone who has lost someone in a plane crash, but it’s highly amusing to the rest of us. And go ahead and make fun of The Godfather, which risks incurring the wrath of the mob. And even mock Star Wars, which is equivalent to unleashing a hyperactive dog’s bladder on the feet of Jawa lovers everywhere.

But never, ever, ever make fun of the teen comedy. There are just some lines that should never be crossed. (Another line is that one on the subway platform that warns you of being electrocuted on the track.)

It’s easy to liken movies to some stupid metaphor, so here goes. Filmmakers are like artists painting at a blank canvas. Some — like “fetch me an Oscar” dramas — use delicate, minute strokes that create breathtaking beauty. Others, like action thrillers, use exciting, bold strokes with vivid colors to arrest the heart. And then you have parody movies, which is like the artist taking every color of paint in the room, mixing it all together, throwing it helter-skelter onto the canvas, and then writing a doody joke on it in magic marker.

The moral of this metaphor: Parody movies have no subtlety in them whatsoever.

Not Another Teen Movie tries hard to cover all the bases of a much-loved genre (which consists mostly of comedies themselves). It blatantly steals, rips off, and line-for-line copies from other movies, including The Breakfast Club, Bring It On, and Varsity Blues. Not to mention that the main “plot” is more or less a remake of She’s All That with a certain future Captain America padding his resume and abs.

Like so many post-Zucker/Abrams/Zucker parodies, this one fails more often than it misses — but it’s not a complete waste. They must have had an intelligent writer or two on staff, because a few of the jokes aren’t penis gags, and even made me laugh pretty hard. Maybe it’s so un-PC to even like this gag, but it was worth a chuckle to see the popular jock singing on the football field to a girl (a la 10 Things I Hate About You), using her name. The song? “Jamie’s Got A Gun.” Chaos ensues, and the security team jumps her using stun prods. I also laughed pretty hard when a pretty girl enters the party scene in slow-motion and everyone freezes except for one guy, who doesn’t know that everyone has to stay still until she moves again.

Perhaps teen flicks did have it coming. I’ll admit that certain clichés — like the fascination with the prom, or the avoidance of any possibility of the middle-class — do deserve ribbing. But many of the films they mock (homage is too kind of a word) are bona fide classics that deserve to be revered: your Ferris Buellers, your Can’t Hardly Waits, your Pretty in Pinks, your Mr. T Goes To Washingtons. So, hands-off, petty filmmakers… here’s hoping the audience checks out the much sharper Shriek instead for a teen satire fix.

Kyle’s rating: Another opening night disaster

Kyle’s review: For some reason, this movie looked pretty funny thanks to its appealing preview, and so a big group of us felt seeing this would be a great coda to a Thai food-filled evening. WE WERE WRONG. Please, for the love of everything, avoid this movie! Just do it! Noooooo!

Well, it’s not too bad. It is another case of all the funny stuff being played in the trailer, so you can prognosticate the next 10 jokes and make an educated guess at the 10 after that. Nothing is really funny or original like is could be (see Airplane! and the first two Naked Guns for examples of comical lunacy at its best), and the bevy of hot chicks at this film’s disposal goes 99% wasted (naked chicks rule!).

If you dare risk viewing this feature film, understand that you won’t be getting humor out of it: you’ll be getting painful, debilitating memory scars that will haunt you till the end of your days. Mia Kirshner is hot and all, but the old-lady-at-the-party scene is one of the most disturbing things ever. If I can spare you from seeing that, then that lessens my pain just a little teeny bit.

Didja notice?

  • Slow-clapping has its time and place — I so love the Slow Clap guy!
  • Everybody must freeze when Amanda walks in
  • Eyeglasses, ponytail and paint-splattered overalls — ew?
  • Janie’s Got A Gun
  • Mr. T! Mr. T!
  • More nudity in this flick than both American Pies
  • Cheerleader with Turrets
  • Molly Ringwald in a cameo at the airport
  • Paul Gleason is back with his same character (Richard Vernon) from The Breakfast Club
  • This movie uses a replica of the library that was used in The Breakfast Club as well as the same house that was featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • The sign on the outside of the cafeteria says “Anthony Michael Dining Hall” in reference to Anthony Michael Hall, veteran of many 80s teen movies.
  • Lacey Chabert plays Amanda Beckett, who was in turn played by Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can’t Hardly Wait. Chabert and Hewitt were both regulars in the TV series “Party of Five”
  • In her room, Catherine has a poster from Pretty In Pink which is spoofed in the movie
  • In the high school the words “I Don’t Know” are written on one of the chalkboards. This is a reference to Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Spicoli says “I Don’t Know,” to Mr. Hand, who writes it on the board and says he’ll never erase it.
  • Melissa Joan Hart as a girl at the party (she had a cameo in Can’t Hardly Wait as well)
  • John Hughes High School
  • During the library scene we can see the words on the wall marking out the various library sections, one section is called “Weird Science”
  • During the big football game near the end, when a bunch of players run off the field, the name on one of the players’ shirts is EXTRA. Also, while all of the other characters’ shirts have their last name, Jake’s shirt says “JAKE” on it.

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