During my teen years I like many in my peer group were portrayed by characters in a series of films that dealt with teen issues and lifestyles. Most of the better films were by John Hughes who in his pre-“Home Alone” days gave us many classics in this genre. Films ranging from “The Breakfast Club”, “Sixteen Candles”, “Pretty in Pink” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, not only made stars out of a bevy of young actors, but created scenarios and characters that became part of the American culture.
As the 1990s came around teen films underwent a change. The Brat Pack as they became known were to old to play the rolls that made them famous and forced them to make the difficult transition from teen stars to adult roles that were far less successful then their earlier works. Before long a new generation of teen stars ranging from Freddie Prinze Jr. to Jason Biggs emerged. The fact that many of the actors were in there twenties was of little concern to audiences as teens once again flocked to the theaters.
Many of the new films lacked the charm of the previous generation of films but they did continue the traditions of h***y teens learning about life and love in settings and situations that were far more common in Hollywood than they ever would be in reality. As the quality of the films dropped, it became harder and harder to tell them apart, as casts and titles were so generic that distinguishing between them was difficult for even the most devoted fans.
In 2000 Keenan Ivory Wayans took aim at the horror film genre and had audiences laughing in the aisles with Scary Movie. The fact that the rushed sequel was not as popular seemed to make little difference to filmmakers as it turned a profit and showed that spoof films have a built in audience. With the horror genre already covered, screenwriters Mike Bender and Adam Epstein decided to take aim at teen films and created “Not Another Teen Movie.” The movie is a mixed bag of spoofs and scenes that are all too familiar to anyone who has ever seen a teen film in the last twenty years. The film is set in John Hughes High School and features the usual assortment of characters. There is the beauty in nerds clothing Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh), The air headed but rich and popular jock Jake Wyler(Chris Evans), The Obsessive best friend Ricky (Eric Jungmann), The bitchy cheerleader Priscilla( Jamie Pressly), The cruel girl Catherine Wyler (Mia Kirshner), and the Token Black Guy Malik (Deon Richmond). The characters also have a myriad of peers who are inspired from a range of teen films. The fat best friend, the sexy exchange student, and the geeks after sex, are just a few of the familiar characters that spend far more time getting in and out of trouble than they ever do in their classrooms.
The film does not have much of a plot in keeping with the films that inspired it. It is a mixture of scenes and scenarios from the films that inspired it. What it does have is an abundance of jokes some of which are very crude but also very funny. I was gagging at the re-enactment of the Lesbian kiss scene from Cruel Intentions and the “Grease” parody was inspired. The film loses its pacing towards the end of the film, and some of the jokes bomb badly. The filmmakers seem to be using the old Airplane-style that the Zucker brothers perfected of bombarding the audience with jokes and taking the laughs when they arrive. For the most part this strategy works. While it is not going to win any awards or set standards for quality filmmaking, “Not Another Teen Movie” has some laughs and if you do not mind crude humor, you may just find yourself laughing along with the film as the press audience did. One of the biggest treats of the film is trying to discover what film they are spoofing before they move on to the next scene and spotting the number of cameos in the film. It is obvious that the creative forces did not take the film to seriously and if you do not, you just might find yourself laughing along.