DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Comedy at Amazon.com.
.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main
COLUMBIA TRISTAR

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Joel Gallen
Cast:
Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Chris Evans, Mia Kirshner, Randy Quaid, Ed Lauter, Cerina Vincent
Screenplay:
Michael G. Bender, Adam Jay Epstein

Tagline:
The Teen Mother Of All Movies!
Box Office:
Budget $16 million.
Opening weekend $12.615 million on 2365 screens.
Domestic gross $37.882 million.
MPAA:
Rated R for strong crude sexual content and humor, language and some drug content.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Surround
Subtitles:
English, French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $27.96
Release Date: 4/30/2002

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Joel Gallen and Screenwriter Mike Bender
• Audio Commentary With Actors Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Jungmann, and Eric Christian Olsen
• Deleted Scenes
• “School’s In Session”: Three Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Unrated Version of Marilyn Manson’s “Tainted Love” Music Video
• The Making of “Tainted Love”
• Joel Gallen’s First Short Film “Car Ride”
• Test Your Teen Movie IQ
• Auditions Montage
• “Meet the Cast” Promos
• Photo Montage
• Theatrical Trailers
• Teen Movie Factoids Track


PURCHASE
DVD
Music soundtrack

Search Products:

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson

It seems to me that the best satire operates from a fairly general perspective. When the target remains at least moderately vague, those behind the spoof can open it up more vigorously. That allows for greater depth of characterization and less pigeonholing. Look to classics like This Is Spinal Tap for examples of what I mean.

Unfortunately, most satire takes the easier route. Many of these films simply shoot for the recognition factor. They don’t bother to attempt any form of true cleverness; instead, they simply show us lightly altered representations of familiar faces or themes and expect us to laugh because we make an association. This is a very cheap form of humor, but it’s what usually passes for parody these days, as exemplified with the Scary Movie releases. Show us something we know and toss in some potty jokes and you’ve got yourself a hit!

For another example of the format, look to Not Another Teen Movie, a send-up of decades’ worth of youth-oriented flicks. At no point do the filmmakers try to do anything fresh or particularly clever. Instead, they just fling bajillions of references at us and expect that to make us laugh. It doesn’t work.

Because of this emphasis, Teen doesn’t really have much of a plot. The film’s overriding theme relates to 1999’s She’s All That. Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) - “The Popular Jock” - bets Austin (Eric Christian Olsen) - “The Cocky Blonde Guy” - that he can turn Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh) - “The Pretty Ugly Girl” - into the prom queen. About 8000 other subplots revolve around this one, and they occasionally intersect.

However, Teen doesn’t exist to give us a crisp story line. Instead, offers little more than an excuse to toss scads of teen movie references on the screen. From the opening reference to American Pie, the race begins, and the rest of the movie feels like a wild chase to capture and display as many film allusions as possible.

If you like to count these, Teen will offer a field day. The flick provides scads of these instances, as virtually the entire picture features many different layers of references. One could easily spend the whole time with an eye on the background to make sure nothing passes unseen.

Unfortunately, these citations don’t actually make Teen funny. Instead, it feels like a frantic attempt to get us to laugh through recognition. Either the flick just tosses material out there with no real explanation - especially via the many cameos from Eighties flick veterans - or it takes basic concepts and alters them in an allegedly humorous manner. That means lots of potty humor and many shots in which people trip or get hit with something.

Is this what passes for comedy these days? Much of the time the movie simply presents something that could fit in one of the “inspiration” films and subverts it with farts or violence. This requires virtually no intelligence, and Teen usually feels like very crude and sparkless filmmaking.

The young cast gives the material their best shot, but there’s only so much they can do. No one really stands out from the pack, though some of the stuff given to Deon Richmond - “The Token Black Guy” - and Samm Levine - “The Wannabe” - almost becomes funny. Actually, one bit in which some snow-white hip-hop boys slam Levine’s character for his Asian wannabe status is a good bit, and Richmond plays his blatantly stereotypical role with such casual humor that he makes it work fairly well.

Otherwise, the cast seems competent but unspectacular. Actually, I did see one exception: Cerina Vincent, who plays Areola, the “Foreign Exchange Student”. The character and her acting are nothing special, but since a) Vincent’s stunningly beautiful, and b) she’s totally naked through the whole film, I didn’t mind. Call me a perv, but Vincent’s scenes offer the only true highlights of the movie.

I will admit that the filmmakers nicely break down the various teen movie stereotypical characters. Some seem too specific, such as Les, “The Beautiful Weirdo” (Riley Smith); he clearly originates with American Beauty and shows no connection to any other film. Areola also comes across as a little too heavily based on Nadia from American Pie; the hot foreign exchange student isn’t that broad a role, though I do recall a similar character in 1987’s Summer School.

Though most of the main parts clearly result from exact films, they still revolve around stereotypes that are generic enough to merit their inclusion. For example, Jake and Janey specifically emulate characters from She’s All That, but we’ve seen so many roles of those sorts that they work in the broader scheme. The beautiful woman who is supposed to be ugly and “transforms” by the end is a particularly tired cliché, so its inclusion makes sense.

Too bad so little of Not Another Teen Movie shows much inspiration. Instead of cleverness, the filmmakers essentially just toss tons of references on the screen and hope we’ll laugh due to the association. It’s flash-card filmmaking, as we respond by reflex rather than thought. I can’t totally slam a movie with so much good and gratuitous nudity, but otherwise, Teen seems like a dud.


The DVD Grades: Picture B- / Audio B+ / Bonus A-

Not Another Teen Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I thought the DVD offered a very watchable presentation, but it suffered from more minor concerns than I expected.

Sharpness generally seemed good, but not always. Some wide shots displayed moderate softness, though those occurred fairly rarely. For the most part, the movie appeared acceptably crisp and well defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, but I did notice light edge enhancement on occasion. Print flaws remained minor. I detected minor grain at times as well as a few specks, but the image usually appeared clean.

Colors often looked very good, as the movie featured a nicely broad palette of bright and vibrant hues. However, the tones occasionally seemed a bit too strong. At times the colors came across as somewhat heavy. Black levels appeared deep and dense, however, and shadow detail was appropriately dark but not too thick. Ultimately, Not Another Teen Movie looked reasonably good much of the time, but I thought the DVD suffered from a few too many problems for a brand-new offering.

Though the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Not Another Teen Movie didn’t show great ambition, it seemed solid for this sort of flick. Not surprisingly, the soundfield usually emphasized the forward channels. In that domain, I heard fine stereo imaging for the music and also discerned a good sense of place and atmosphere. The track appeared fairly active much of the time, as lots of small gags and information came from the side speakers; random lines from off-screen extras almost constantly appeared on the right and left. The material blended together well and provided a believable setting.

Surround usage usually tended toward general reinforcement of the music and ambient effects, but it came to life nicely at times. For example, one Viet Nam flashback sequence showed light but effective war audio in the rear speakers, and a shot in which a football hit someone in the head featured a cool use of the split surround capacity. The track won’t compete with an action extravaganza, but it seemed more than satisfactory for this movie.

Audio quality generally appeared good. Most of the time, speech sounded distinct and natural, and I encountered no concerns related to intelligibility. However, some lines displayed moderate edginess. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they showed reasonable depth. Music also demonstrated good dynamics, with bright highs and rich bass. Overall, the audio of Not Another Teen Movie supported the material well.

Despite the lackluster box office performance of Not Another Teen Movie, Columbia-Tristar (CTS) pulled out all the stops for this packed special edition DVD. First we find two separate audio commentaries. One involves director Joel Gallen and screenwriter Mike Bender, both of whom sat together for this running, screen-specific track. Gallen dominated the piece, which offered a moderately informative but fairly lackluster presentation. Some good factoids appeared as the two fleshed out the production, and they also helped point out some small gags that might have gone unnoticed; for example, one football player bears the name and high school uniform number of Gallen’s brother. Unfortunately, much of the track simply spelled out obvious information, and the two rarely appeared very engaging. Overall, the commentary was adequate but bland.

After this we get a cast commentary that provides statements from actors Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Jungmann, and Eric Christian Olsen. They also were recorded together for their running, screen-specific piece. One thing’s for sure: these five showed a much higher level of energy than did Gallen and Bender. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen. The five chatted constantly and frequently spoke on top of each other. They also tended to do little more than tell us what they liked about the movie and also praise all the various participants. However, at least they demonstrated some spark, and the track boasted a nicely uncensored quality; the five usually appeared to speak their minds, which meant some very interesting tidbits occasionally hit my ears. They also offered some funny bits at times. It’s too chaotic and uninformative to be a good commentary, but fans of the film will likely enjoy it.

Another commentary uses the subtitle stream to give us a “Pop-Up Video” look at Teen. Simply called the Teen Movie Factoids Track, this piece provides periodic blurbs about the various references seen in Teen and other production details. I like this idea, and the track offers a lot of useful information since it helps spell out the many movies cited.

My only complaint stems from the sporadic use of the piece. It goes for long stretches with no material and can become a bit tedious after a while. It’s still worth a look if you want to catch all the references, but it should have included a higher level of information.

Now we move to scads of video-based extras. Of key interest are the 18 Deleted Scenes. These last between 37 seconds and three minutes, 59 seconds for a total of 26 minutes and 19 seconds of material. This section mixes totally unused footage with extended sequences and a few outtakes. The quality of the humor seems no better or worse than that found in the finished film, so I’d guess most of this stuff got the axe for time reasons. Some of it appears moderately redundant as well. Nonetheless, Teen fans should enjoy this wealth of additional shots. (And yes, we get to see some extra shots of Cerina Vincent in “costume” - yum!)

Within the “School’s In Session” domain, we get three featurettes. Best Dressed discusses both set and costume design. During this and all the other featurettes, we see shots from the movie, material from the set, and interviews. In the latter domain, we find comments from director Gallen, actors Leigh, Evans, Mia Kirschner, Ron Lester and Samm Levine plus production designer Joseph T. Garrity and costume designer Florence-Isabelle Megginson. Not surprisingly, the last two dominate the nine-minute and five-second program. We learn a little about the sets and locations, but mainly we find information about the costumes. It’s a brisk and interesting little piece.

For Class Clown, the focus falls upon stunts and choreography. We hear from Gallen, actors Pressly and Leigh, special effects supervisor John Hartigan and choreographer Anne Fletcher in this nine and a half minute featurette. Again, this one provides some solid notes about the shoot, and I especially liked the behind-the-scenes shots as we watch some different sequences.

“School’s In Session” finishes with My Freshman Year, the closest thing to a general “making of” documentary found on the DVD. It lasts 13 minutes and 10 seconds and includes statements from Gallen, writer Bender, producer Neal H. Moritz, and actors Leigh, Pressly, Evans, Lester, Levine, Jungmann, Vincent, Kirshner, and Olsen. Despite its brevity, the program offers a solid look at the production. We learn how Gallen came on board and then go through script alterations, casting, and the critical reaction to the movie as well as some general production notes. The show covers a lot of good information efficiently and compellingly.

Next we get some music materials. We find the unrated version of Marilyn Manson’s “Tainted Love” music video, a clip that’s preceded by an MTV “Making the Video” piece. The latter runs for five minutes and five seconds, and it includes behind the scenes footage as well as comments from Manson, Gallen, actors Pressly, Evans, Leigh, Deon Richmond, Olsen, Jungmann and Kirshner plus video director Philip G. Atwell. Not surprisingly, Manson dominates the snippets, and he offers his usual wittily perverse material; he even offers a not-too-veiled dig at former squeeze Rose McGowan.

As for the video itself, it lasts three minutes and 40 seconds, and it’s a decent clip. It gives us an alternate view of Teen’s party scene, in which Manson and his friends take over the shindig. It features many of the cast members, including some hot shots of Leigh in a Goth bikini. We also see some toplessness, which makes it a good video in my book! Manson’s version of “Tainted Love” - which was already a remake when Soft Cell did it in 1982 - seems decent but a bit predictable.

Inside the Yearbook, we get a running photo montage. This lasts six minutes, 43 seconds and includes a mix of production shots as well as “growing up” pics of the actors. It’s a reasonably good little package, though I’d prefer more of the “real life” shots and fewer movie images.

Another compilation appears as the Auditions Montage. This three minute and 33 second piece slaps together lots of try-out footage for the actors. It’s a fast-paced and fairly interesting little set.

For a piece of history, we discover Car Ride, Joel Gallen’s first short film. The three-minute and 50-second clip features Jenny McCarthy and offers a moderately compelling piece, but it doesn’t seem like anything special. Still, it’s a cool addition to the disc.

Lots of promotional materials show up on Teen. In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer an “R”-rated one, by the way - we get ads for fellow CTS flicks The New Guy, The Animal, Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, and Loser. (Odd that they didn’t provide trailers for some of the CTS movies spoofed, such as Can’t Hardly Wait and The Karate Kid.) We also get a collection of seven Meet the Cast promos. These run about 30 seconds each and they include shots from the film and in-character comments from the various actors. They’re cute but not very interesting.

An interactive quiz, Test Your Teen Movie IQ gives us the standard repertoire of multiple choice questions about the genre. In a fun twist, however, Gallen, Bender and various cast members ask all the queries, and they provide different feedback comments based on your accuracy. It’s nothing revelatory, but it seems more amusing and entertaining than most of these tests.

At least one Easter Egg appears on Teen. Go to the first “Scene Selections” screen and highlight the rubber duck. Click down and this’ll show a lip-mark on Reggie Ray’s ass. Hit “enter” and you’ll find six takes of the make-out scene between Mia Kirshner and elderly Beverly Polcyn. View the four-minute and 20-second piece at your own risk!

Actually, I feel the same way about Not Another Teen Movie itself. While not the worst spoof I’ve seen, it generally seems forced and without inspiration. It substitutes quantity for quality and rarely provokes any laughs. The DVD provides acceptably but somewhat lackluster picture quality along with good audio and a fine roster of extras. If this kind of broad comedy is your thing, Not Another Teen Movie will work for you, but fans of richer flicks will want to skip it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1119 Stars Number of Votes: 134
915:
94:
10 3:
62:
181:
View Averages for all rated titles.