The perfect girl. The desperate virgin. The token black guy. The popular jock. The pretty ugly girl. The beautiful weirdo. The nasty cheerleader. The obsessed best friend. They're all here for Not Another Teen Movie!
I guess we had it coming. After being subjected to years of endless teenage comedy, drama, and horror movies, finally the teen genre gets its due with Not Another Teen Movie. Wait, didn't it already get its due with the hit slapstick flick Scary Movie? NO MATTER, for we can always use another teen spoof in the vein of the Zucker brothers, right? Right??!? Well, agree or disagree the fact still remains that Not Another Teen Movie is on DVD, and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it. Bling bling!
Facts of the Case
Sixteen Candles + Ferris Bueller's Day Off + The Breakfast Club + American Pie + Varsity Blues + She's All That + American Beauty + Pretty In Pink + 10 Things I Hate About You + Porky's + Revenge of the Nerds + Home Alone + Airplane + American Pie 2 + Weird Science + Bring It On + Fast Times At Ridgemont High + Road Trip + The Naked Gun + Grease + Risky Business + Say Anything + Adventures In Babysitting + Save The Last Dance + Never Been Kissed = Not Another Teen Movie.
I really, really wanted to like Not Another Teen Movie. I mean, more than any other movie in recent memory. Like my first kiss and my college graduation, I will always remember seeing Paul Gleason striding across the screen in the preview mocking his uptight character from John Hughes' immortal '80s classic The Breakfast Club. I laughed until I peed my pants. The preview was THAT funny. But I should have known better. Hollywood had played a dirty trick on me…the trick they'd played so many times before…you know the one that I'm talking about…
Putting all the funny parts in the preview!
Yes, Not Another Teen Movie was yet another case of the preview being vastly funnier than the movie. Certainly Not Another Teen Movie includes its fair share of laughs—I'd be a liar if I said I found nothing funny in the film. The sequences with the weird, black wearing, video taping Les (Riley Smith), a spoof off of American Beauty, had me giggling. I liked the fact that his plastic bag followed him everywhere he went. The cameos are also engaging. I won't give away who pops up now and then, but I will say if you're a fan of the '80s teen classics, you won't be disappointed. However…
On par with the teen films of today, the movie relies much to heavily on gross-out gags to carry along the story. Saliva encrusted kisses and jet-propelled excrement seem to be the best jokes the writers can come up with—and they ain't that funny. When will Hollywood learn that clever characters and funny writing will always win over pee-pee / ca-ca jokes? I'm not saying that you can't have some gross humor in your movie (Weird Science did, but did it with finesse). I'm saying you need to temper your scales of humor. Tip one in the wrong direction and the movie falls flat on its rear. Such is the case with the soulless Not Another Teen Movie. And never has a title been so prophetic as this film.
Oddly enough, I was surprised at how distinctive the cast was in this movie. It seems like every teen film of today includes the typical good-looking Maxim model and strikingly built male lead. Remember the days when Anthony Michael Hall and Jon Cryer were considered leading men? Here we get an unusually eclectic group of teens, including sex pot Jamie Pressly as the bitchy cheerleader, Eric Jungmann as the "obsessed best friend" (shades of Hall and Cryer abound in this character), Ron Lester as the "stupid fat guy" (while I'm all for raunchy humor, this character's gags just seemed cruel), and so on, and so on. Some of the characters are funnier than others. Eric Christian Olsen as the "cocky blonde guy" gets the WASPy white bread attitude down to a tee. Sam Huntington as the "sensitive guy" masters actor Chris Kline's soft whimpering attitude that made him such a goof in the two American Pie movies. But these characters alone can't make up for the fact that this script has only a cold stone where its heart should be. Didn't the makers of this film realize that underneath John Hughes' teen comedies was always something soft and fuzzy? This movie has none of that—just a barrage of endless jokes and gags that usually have to do with naked foreign exchange students, a token black guy saying statements like "damn, that is WHACK!" and a pig smoking a big fat doobie.
If you remember the '80s teen classics and want a movie that spoofs them…well, look elsewhere. While Not Another Teen Movie includes a few minor laughs, there just aren't enough to warrant its 90-minute run time. Maybe someday someone will do a movie like this right—and let's hope it's John Hughes.
Not Another Teen Movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Columbia has done a fantastic job of making sure that this transfer is free of almost every defect known to DVD. Aside of the smallest amount of edge enhancement, this is a great looking transfer that sports vivid colors and dark black levels. I looked and looked for other imperfections, but none were to be found. Kudos to Columbia for this nice looking picture.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English, as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in French. I was a tad bit shocked at how bland this soundtrack was. While there are a few moments of aggressive directional use (mostly with the 80s cover songs), overall the rear speakers only use was for ambient sounds. Every aspect of the dialogue, effects, and music are free and clear of any excessive distortion. Also included on this disc are English and French subtitles.
Arrrgh! Why is it crappy movies like this always include sixteen hours of extra materials I have to wade through? Ah, such is the life of the DVD reviewer. Not Another Teen Movie is featured in a "special edition" that's jam packed with all kinds of extra materials. Let's get started before you forget about me…
Starting off this disc are two commentary tracks, the first by director Joel Gallen and co-writer Mike Bender and a second by stars Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Chris Evans, Eric Christian Olsen, and Eric Jungmann. Each of these commentary tracks lie squarely on different sides of the entertainment spectrum: while the track featuring the Bender and Gallen is dry and technical, the second commentary with the cast is wacky and fun. The actors seem to really be enjoying the film (I'm glad someone did), and they actually make a few funny comments while watching themselves in various activities including playing with dildos and walking around with whip cream on their nipples. If you're looking for a wealth of information and some fun, these two tracks should suffice. However, if you're looking for an even more informative and entertaining commentary track, an even better text based track features tons of tidbits on different teen movies, and where this film takes some of its inspiration. If you don't have a lot of time, I recommend catching the info packed text track.
Next up is a teen movie IQ test that is mildly fun, though if you know anything about teen movies it's a fairly quick and easy quiz. 18 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) are included, and there's a reason why they were titled "deleted" scenes. None of these is very funny, and the supposed "alternate ending" is the same as the original ending minus a cameo that made the original ending humorous. The best of these scenes in an extended sequence of the giggle inducing musical number from the film. All of these scenes are presented in anamorphic widescreen in a somewhat rough form.
"School's In Session" is a nearly 30-minute featurette that's broken up into three separate sections: "Best Dressed," "Class Clown," and "My Freshman Year." Each of these sections touches up different aspects of the production, including story, sets (many original locations from '80s movies were used), costumes, lavishing the director with kudos, the gross out gags and how they were done, etcetera. These featurettes are fairly interesting, though after I was done watching them I didn't feel like I'd gained an astronomical amount of knowledge on the production. "Car Ride" is a short film directed by Joe Gallen that stars Jenny McCarthy and is…well, let's just say Not Another Teen Movie is miles above "Car Ride."
Finally there's an unrated music video for über-creep Marilyn Manson's cover of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," a montage reel of the actors auditioning for their roles, some semi-funny promo spots featuring the actors as their characters, a small section called "The Yearbook" which is a 7-minute stills gallery, and theatrical trailers for Not Another Teen Movie as well as other Columbia comedy titles. All of this is wrapped around some animated menus which feature parodies of different 1980s and '90s teen movie posters.
Not Another Teen Movie just wasn't my cup of poo…err, I mean tea. It's far too nasty to be a complete parody, and the writers just couldn't come up with enough well written dialogue/characters to make me care about the film. However, Columbia has done very nice work on this disc, so there's your silver lining.
Not Another Teen Movie is sentenced to watch every teen movie over and over again until it gets it right. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
• Two Commentary Tracks by the Cast and Crew
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