Not Another Teen Movie

Blame it on Scary Movie. Then blame yourselves. Well ... not all of you, just the ones who gave your part of the more than $170 million box office that the Wayans brothers’ gross-out parody of Generation X slasher movies raked in last year. You guys gave Hollywood a mandate: Take a group of hits (the three Screams and the two I Know What You Did Last Summers for Scary Movie), toss them in a shredder and then stick no-holds-barred satirical sketches to a plot line all built from the random scenes that roll out. Make it and we will come. Those of you who lined up for Scary Movie 2 with wallets in hand also proved one of the entertainment industry’s fundamental rules: If it’s worked once, then it might work again.

Not Another Teen Movie uses this formula (two of its scripters worked on Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2). The problem is what they had at hand to dump into the hopper. You see, first-time feature director Joel Gallen is a John Hughes fan. If you’re thinking of laying your allowance down to see this flick, you might be too young to even know who Hughes is. He directed his break-out Sixteen Candles in 1984, followed it up with the Brat Pack detention mini-epic The Breakfast Club a year later, and crowned his cinematic high school career the year after that with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off before graduating to more (or less) adult themes. If you haven’t seen these movies, you won’t get some of the characters — like the obsessed guy friend with the pork pie hat, Ricky (Eric Jungmann) — a Breakfast Club spoof that features an original cast member, or a cameo by aging Hughes ingénue Molly Ringwald. But don’t feel bad: Even if you have seen Hughes’ stuff, Gallen’s just isn’t funny.

The same goes for the confetti Teen Movie makes of recent teen popcorn-munchers like American Pie (1999) and Bring it On (2000). American Beauty (1999) and Cruel Intentions (1999) even get thrown in. Screenwriter Michael G. Bender and company hang their sophomoric and nearly laughless sketches on the plot line of She’s All That (1999).

Hollywood, we have a problem: It doesn’t work. Viewers should stay away to send the message: not another teen movie — at least not like this one.

Click here to visit the official Not Another Teen Movie Web site.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at [email protected].

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