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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 NR 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: 100 min.
Price: $19.94
Release Date: 7/26/2005

Bonus:
• “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
• Easter Egg


PURCHASE
DVD
Music soundtrack

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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: Unrated (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.

Note that this DVD includes the “Unrated Extended Director’s Cut” of Not Another Teen Movie. It adds about 10 minutes to the theatrical version’s 90-minute running time. Fans who watched the original DVD will recognize much of the footage, for that package already included a lot of it in the “Deleted Scenes” area. That means we do see a little more nudity from Cerina Vincent, but not anything we didn’t already find in the old disc’s cut sequences.

A smidgen of totally new footage does crop up in the Director’s Cut, though I didn’t see any fresh scenes. Instead, small additions to existing sequences occur. These provide a smutty line or shot here and there but don’t add up to much. In truth, there’s not much about the Director’s Cut to significantly differentiate it from the original version. It’s a little longer but it’s no funnier or more creative.


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

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 light 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.

If you expect the picture and sound quality of the unrated Teen to differ from what the original DVD offered, you’ll walk away from this disc disappointed. The visuals and audio appeared virtually identical for both releases.

On the other hand, the prior release trounces the unrated disc when it comes to supplements. The new version includes no new extras and it loses some significant components from the original package.

Here’s what remains. 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! It also presents not a single movie clip, a fact that means it’s very unusual for this genre. 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 Kung Fu Hustle, DEBS, 50 First Dates, Guess Who, Layer Cake, Hitch, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, Boogeyman and The Cave. (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 “Meet the Cast” page and click to the right of “The Cocky Blonde Guy”. This highlights a flower; press enter to watch a three-minute and 21-second clip that shows a surprise proposal on the set.

What does this new edition lose? Plenty. Although the package claims that we get “all the original bonus features”, that’s not remotely true. The original DVD included two audio commentaries that fail to appear here. The prior release also had a trivia track that goes MIA on the new set.

In addition, we lose the collection of deleted scenes from the first disc. Some of those appear in the movie, but not all – or even most – of them. The original release included more than 26 minutes of eliminated shots. Since the Director’s Cut runs only 10 minutes longer than the theatrical version – and some of those comes from footage not found on the prior disc – this set drops a whole bunch of deleted scenes.

As far as I can tell, the original DVD’s Easter egg fails to appear here, though I think the one with the proposal is new and doesn’t show up on the prior disc. In addition, both sets include different “Previews”.

The omission of all these extras is what makes the “Unrated Extended Director’s Cut” of Not Another Teen Movie a disc to avoid. That’s if you’re interested in the flick to start. While not the worst spoof I’ve seen, Not Another Teen Movie 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 mix of decent extras.

I didn’t recommend the theatrical DVD to anyone who didn’t already like Teen, so I certainly won’t advise them to buy the Director’s Cut. I also definitely think fans should stick with the original DVD. There’s almost nothing new about this disc and it loses significant materials from the prior release. The 2002 DVD is definitely still the best one on the market.

To rate this film, visit the orignal review of NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE