|Not Another Teen Movie (Special Edition)|
|Written by Mel Odom|
|Tuesday, 30 April 2002|
Although “Not Another Teen Movie” brands itself as not just another teen movie, the DVD defaults on that promise to a degree. While poking fun at the whole subgenre, the movie primarily targets that same teen audience. The kicker this time is that today’s adult viewer can pick up the DVD and laugh in memory of all the films he or she grew up on during those turbulent teen years.
When looking back at all the teen movies of the last 20 years, movies such as “She’s All That,” “Risky Business,” “Varsity Blues,” “Never Been Kissed,” “Breakfast Club” and “Porky’s,” the viewer discovers that those movies have all supposedly been in defiance of the adults who thought they knew more than the teens they were raising. Today’s adult viewer will recognize so many of the takeoffs on movies he or she grew up on and realize that many of the same issues facing today’s teens were ones we had to face back in the day.
The movie begins in Chapter 1 with a truly embarrassing moment. Janey Briggs, the female lead, decides to take a “self-indulgent” moment while watching her favorite Freddie Prinze, Jr. movie. A surround sound system brings the soundtrack, one of the film’s strengths, blasting into the room. While Janey’s busy, her family barges in, complete with innocent children and the neighborhood priest, to wish her a happy birthday. During the ensuing conversation, complete with the droning sound created by the vibrator streaming through the front speakers, Janey still manages to reach her peak, which sends the audience reaching for oxygen because the laughs are off the scale and just getting started.
The sight gags steps onstage in Chapter 2 with the arrival of new jocks whose letter jackets just happen to spell J-O-C-K-S. Janey arrives at John Hughes High School, courtesy of her drunken, Vietnam-vet father’s rattletrap pickup. John Hughes, of course, is a director known for his teen angst-oriented films. When the truck’s door falls off and clangs to the sidewalk, the noise reverberates through the main speakers as well as lighting up the subwoofer. Janey is obviously the down-and-out pretty girl in search of a life-changing makeover.
Jake Wyler, the romantic lead, is introduced in Chapter 2 as well. He walks into the high school and checks out pictures of himself, offering up another sight gag that will draw an outright guffaw from the audience. While the main conversations go through the center speaker(s), the attentive viewer will hear numerous announcements in the background through the main and rear speakers that are a hoot.
Chapter 4 brings the obligatory bet between Jake and a rival jock about making the prom queen. Of course, they settle on Janey. While they’re checking out the possibilities, the main conversation rips through the center speaker(s) while the sounds of the other students issue from the mains and rears, making the viewer feel like he or she is seated in the middle of all the action.
Chapter 5 brings some of the funnier moments in the film as the pretentious poetry teacher gets his just deserts. Three sex-crazed nerds creep through the air ducts over the girls’ locker rooms. Juxtaposing classic poetry and bathroom humor is not only funny but historically apt, because a lot of the classical poets tried their hands at that very thing, although many high school teachers never mention this in their biographies. While the nerds wind their precarious way through the air ducts, the offscreen voices come from the left and right speakers, giving viewers the audio impression that they too are just around the corner. The splashing of the malfunctioning toilet, while gross, nevertheless blasts realistically from the main speakers, giving viewers the feeling that they’ve narrowly avoided a sickening deluge.
In Chapter 9, the football coach lights up the subwoofer with his cursing, setting the stage for the hilarious flashback Jake has as to why he’s no longer the school’s star player. A heartbeat thuds through the subwoofer as the gross but funny flashback goes into slow motion.
Chapter 10’s “Breakfast Club” parody is one of the high points of the film. In Chapter 13, Jake finds himself stymied in trying to convince Janey to agree to the prom queen challenge. Having no other choice, he formulates a game plan to woo Janey. This backfires, especially when Jake decides to sing a song with Janey’s name in it – “Janie’s Got a Gun” – in Chapter 14. As the other students go screaming in fear, their voices echo through the mains as Jake sings through the center speaker(s). The sound of the security guard’s taser sizzles, underscoring the action.
The soundtrack jumps to the forefront again in Chapter 15 as Jake’s sister helps transform Janey into a princess. Later, the presentation as Janey walks down the staircase, which shatters beneath her and plunges into the basement with her sets the surround sound system and the subwoofer into overdrive. The road trip music of the nerd crew blasts through the surround system with an energetic beat that is cut way short.
Chapter 16 features party sounds. The crowd noises cycles through the mains while the principal conversations take place in the center speaker(s). The music signaling Amanda Becker’s arrival slams through the entire system.
In Chapter 17, Janey squares off against Pricilla, the bitchy cheerleader. Ennio Morricone’s theme for Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” rolls through the main speakers while the conversation goes on. Chapters 18 through 21 detail the film’s football game, causing the surround sound system to erupt. The cheerleader face-off is not to be missed. The crowd noise spews through the main and rear speakers as conversations rip through the center speaker(s).
A bone-crunching tackle by the opposing team hammers the subwoofer into a new decibel level. Mr. T steps out of the shadows for a cameo, and sets up the crashing riffs of the “A-Team” theme song through the subwoofer.
The new cheerleader’s Tourette’s Syndrome adds to the audio spice of the game. The soundtrack goes ballistic as Jake prepares to throw the game-saving pass. Janey and Jake have a heart-to-heart talk in Chapter 22 while a paramedic mishap in the background creates a crash in the subwoofer.
Chapter 23 showcases Jake and Janey in singing numbers. During Jake’s part, the cries of nearby seagulls echo through the main speakers. The soundtrack continues rolling, banging explosively as all the main characters get ready for the prom. Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” plays out in Chapter 26, adding to the whole teen angst experience.
The special features portion of the DVD provides extra entertainment, in addition to information. The commentary by the filmmakers as well as the cast testifies as to how enjoyable working on the movie was for those involved. The deleted scenes offer further insight into how the movie came together, as well as developing storylines and character. Other featurettes revolve around the director and cast, and all of these show how much fun must have been had on the set.
“Not Another Teen Movie” will appeal to all the fans of the teen movie genre, and to viewers who like well-done comedy. For people who aren’t looking to add to their collection, “Not Another Teen Movie” is an excellent popcorn night movie rental with a few close friends – or a party movie when the parents are gone!