Not Another Teen Movie

Reviewed by John Hazelton in Los Angeles

Dir: Joel Gallen. US. 2001. 82mins.

A genre spoof aimed, apparently, at both teens and twentysomethings, Not Another Teen Movie hits its barn door of a target just often enough, although never with much style or wit. A handful of raunchy set pieces (that have earned the film an R rating in the US for its release on Dec 14) should generate sufficient word-of-mouth for a quick pre-Christmas US run. However distributors may find that the audience's appetite for this kind of stuff - in the US and especially overseas - has already been sated by the more consistently funny American Pie and Scary Movie series.

The behind-the-camera talents have the right kind of experience for the job:

producer Neil Moritz's teen hits have included I Know What You Did Last

Summer and Urban Legend; writers Phil Beauman and Buddy Johnson worked on Scary Movie and its sequel; and first-time feature director Joel Gallen has made many of the short film parodies seen on The MTV Movie Awards. Here, the team sets out to lampoon a slew of teen flicks, ranging from John Hughes' 1980s brat pack romances to recent, less innocent efforts like Cruel Intentions and She's All That.

The plot - set mostly on the school grounds of John Hughes High - comes primarily from the latter, with popular jock Jake (Evans from TV series Boston Public) taking a bet that he can turn pretty/ugly girl Janey (Leigh, from TV series Seventh Heaven) into the Prom Queen. Other stock characters include The Bitchy Cheerleader (Pressly from Tomcats and Joe Dirt), The Cruellest Girl (Kirshner, from The Crow: City of Angels and Exotica) and The Token Black Guy (Richmond, from Scream 3), whose lines are restricted to "Damn!" and "That is whack!"

The film sometimes aspires to the kind of dumb-funny humour perfected in the 1980s by Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams, but the comedy here has little of the daffy charm of Airplane! or The Naked Gun series and instead relies too often on simply recreating stock situations from the teen genre in their lowest-common-denominator form.

The closest Not Another Teen Movie comes to daffy charm is when it briefly pokes fun at its own limited ambitions and in a few incidental touches like the foreign exchange student who walks through the entire film naked. The raunchy sexual references and set-pieces - including a flying dildo scene, a volcanic toilet scene and a lesbian French kiss between a sexy high-schooler and a wrinkled old crone - are sensational without being terribly funny or original.

Cameos by current and past teen movie favourites seem to promise something a bit more subtle, but the appearances are largely wasted. When Molly Ringwald - from John Hughes' Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink - pops up in the final scene, the funniest thing the movie can find for her to do is sigh "fucking teenagers" direct to camera.

US distColumbia Pictures

Int'l distColumbia TriStar

Exec prodsMichael Rachmil

ProdBrad Luff, Neil H Moritz

ScrMichael G Bender & Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson and Phil Beauman & Buddy Johnson

CinematographyReynaldo Villalobos

Prod desJoseph T Garrity

EdSteven Welch

Costume desFlorence-Isabelle Megginson

MusicTheodore Shapiro

Main castChyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen, Mia Kirshner, Deon Richmond, Eric Jungmann.