Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Starring: Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen
“Let’s make like a tree and… branch. Out of here.” (Austin, Not Another Teen Movie)
Everyone has their guilty pleasures, and Not Another Teen Movie is certainly one of mine. While there have been countless atrocious spoof movies released over the years following the success of Scary Movie, this piss-take of teen flicks from the ’80s and ’90s is one of those rare few that are actually genuinely funny.
Perhaps it’s because its spoofs are so accurate to the movies they’re parodying, but with jokes not so specific that they’ll be lost on those who haven’t seen these films.
Or perhaps it’s because both generations of teen flick fans – the ’80s kids and the ’90s kids – are catered for in equal measure. ’80s films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Porky’s are imitated to perfection, while ’90s movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, Bring It On, American Pie and Cruel Intentions are also aped. This also extends to the soundtrack, which mainly consists of ’80s songs being covered by modern bands. Well, modern by late ’90s standards.
Of all the films getting the parody treatment though it’s She’s All That which forms the basis of Not Another Teen Movie‘s plot. Star quarterback and all-round cool guy Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) makes a bet with his friend that he can turn the ugliest girl in a school into the prom queen. The “ugliest” girl chosen (in a school that features an albino hippie, a hunchback and conjoined twins among its pupils) is Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh), a rebellious art-loving girl who is quite clearly attractive but is considered ugly because she wears glasses and has a ponytail.
Cue a whole bunch of familiar scenes as Jake tries to convince Janey to like him and accompany him to the prom. He takes her to a generic teen house party where she jumps off the roof into a swimming pool (a la Almost Famous), he tries to seduce her with a whipped cream bikini much like Ali Larter’s in Varsity Blues, and his attempt to win her over by singing from the bleachers as she takes an art class on the football field is straight out of 10 Things I Hate About You… though on this occasion his song choice is far less successful.
Then there are the various cameos that should have people chuckling away. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina The Teenage Witch) gives an important lesson on slow clapping, Mr T gives some sage football advice and Molly Ringwald gives her true feelings on teenagers. It’s brilliant.
If you see this on TV or have access to the US version of Netflix and spot it on there, try to avoid that nagging doubt that suggests this is going to be an embarrassing pile of pish like 99% of the other “hilarious” spoof films directed by “the guy who made the tea on the Scary Movie set”. As one of the few proper efforts released shortly after Scary Movie this is one of only a handful of truly decent examples of the genre before it all went to shit. Yes friends, I have no shame in saying that I am a fan of Not Another Teen Movie.
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