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Not Another Teen Movie
Special Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: R (Strong crude sexual content and humor, language and some drug content)

Running Time: 89 minutes

Starring: Jamie Pressly, Mia Kirshner and Randy Quaid

Written by: Michael G. Bender & Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson and Phil Beauman & Buddy Johnson

Directed by: Joel Gallen

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $27.95

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Joel Gallen and Co-Writer Michael G. Bender, Audio Commentary with Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Chris Evans, Eric Christian Olsen, and Eric Jungmann, Teen Movie Factoids, School's In Session, Deleted Scenes, Marilyn Manson "Tainted Love" Music Video and Behind-The-Scenes, The Yearbook, Meet The Cast Promos, Auditions Montage, Joel Gallen's "Car Ride," Test Your Teen Movie IQ, Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Scenes)

Released: April 30th, 2002

 

 

Yes, teen movies. Truly a craze that takes Hollywood by storm every couple of years, dies down and then comes back. It's a cycle, that I assume, will always repeat. I suppose the more recent craze began with "Scream" in 1996, and ever since, Hollywood has been churning out an incredible amount of flicks aimed for a teenage demographic. And why not? They're cheap to make, and in the end, they do become quite successful through their box office runs and the home video market (but despite the successes they may get, some actually do bomb). It seems for a long while Hollywood just dumped these out, and whenever one was announced, people would just clamor to the news. And while movie studios are still making teen flicks, they've been cut down considerably. So, given their success, like teen horror films and "Scary Movie" before it, it's only natural that someone set out to make fun rather popular teen movies. Given the rich material to draw from, the results are rather disappointing.

Believe it or not, there is actually some kind of plot to "Not Another Teen Movie." While it lampoons recent teen flicks of the past few years, the parody's plot is basically a rip on 1999's She's All That, with other teen movie stereotypes and plotlines thrown in for good measure, all for the sake of being funny. So it's basically about jocks Jake and Austin who make a bet to see if Jake can turn Janey Briggs from a nerd into prom queen. And in between that is just all sorts of randomness from teen movies (and somehow, Jamie Pressly gets first credit on the cast list when she's not in it too much).

"Not Another Teen Movie" is credited to five different writers, and somehow, despite five writers working on this movie (I'm sure there were more who scripted it and put in jokes), it's not really that funny. This is the same problem I had with another parody flick of 2001, one that I'm sure you're all familiar with, that being "Scary Movie 2" (and coincidentally, that one is credited to five different writers as well). A lot of the jokes here are over-the-top gross out humor, something that's been a standard in teen movies and something you'd expect from teen flicks. The problem is, most of the material here is something we've all seen before and really isn't that funny. I didn't laugh out loud at all during this movie. Yes, I had some chuckles here and there, but that's about it. Again, this is actually quite disappointing given how much the writers had to work with. They set out to satirize the whole genre, but in the end, I really think they miss their mark. They seem to just go about giving the whole reference instead of truly making fun of the films they're parodying. I could go on and on about this, but I won't. Basically, it's just a whole mess of random teen films smashed together. I'm sure some audiences will enjoy this, but if you really want to laugh instead of just getting references, you won't find it here.

Another flaw I found within the script is that the writers attempt to set up so much in order to make fun, but really, they don't wrap everything up. Some characters as you might expect serve no point than to be a cheap laugh or reference. I found that a bit annoying. What I also found annoying is how they include American Beauty and Almost Famous - these movies are NOT part of the teen genre, that's for sure. Both of those films are well respected Academy Award® winners, and somehow, they're submerged in the parodies and all like they were. Being a fan of fine cinema, it's somewhat appalling as you can't compare those two films to the likes of "Varsity Blues" and "Pretty In Pink." But perhaps the most pathetic aspect of "Not Another Teen Movie" is myself: I recognized EVERY SINGLE reference throughout the film. Perhaps I know too much about film and pop culture.

Joel Gallen, who's directed a bunch of parodies and shorts for MTV, makes his feature film directing debut here. This movie is not art, but I was surprised how well executed his shots came out to be, but in the end, his directing chops other than composition are pretty decent. The film is short, running a few minutes under ninety minutes, and while he paces it well, the film's writing is just too cumbersome and mixed around for him to actually make it more stable. Too bad, but I was pretty surprised how decent his directing style was - it didn't feel standard at all.

Of course, we have the cast. The cast here is actually quite good, given the material they have to work with. The characters in this film are all one dimensional, and the cast seems to know what they're getting into, so they seem to have a good time, overplay their characters and act them out as we'd expect them to in such a parody. Overall, this works really well for the movie as it helps reinforce what it's trying to pull off, even if it doesn't pull it off. Basically, the actors here capture who they're supposed to be to the fullest and really act it in their own fresh ways, even if they're basing it off other actors from other films. However, if there is one actor I wanted more of, it was Randy Quaid. I think he's a pretty funny guy and an underrated actor, and given his role as the father, there could have been so much more. But alas, the writers don't really utilize him to his best and fullest. There are also some fun cameos to, if I may add and won't spoil...

And that's about it. Don't get me wrong, there are some good qualities to "Not Another Teen Movie" and it wasn't as bad as I expected. But in the end, the bad does outweigh the good. This movie really isn't funny at all. While I did enjoy picking out the references, that did get old after a bit. It's just a tired out parody that's been better executed, and like most teen movies, this one is pretty forgettable, yet somehow, when we hear the plot, we just know all about it...

 

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, this transfer is quite beautiful. Detail is quite strong in all the scenes, while blacks and shadow detail are just as good. There's a piece of dirt and blemish here and there, but nothing major. The same thing goes for noise. The film is also a bit grainy, but I believe this was a low budget film, so it's understandable. Yet the thing that stands out the most on this transfer are the lovely colors. They're incredibly natural and vibrant, and really stand out in such a pure, immense kind of way. The colors are quite solid and well saturated, and really make it all look lovely, not to mention reflect all sorts of scenes. Fleshtones look the same way as well. So in the end, despite some minor flaws, it's all good here.

 

The English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is quite strong. As a lot of you know, comedy mixes don't always make the greatest 5.1 mixes, but this is one of the better 5.1 mixes I've heard in a comedy, actually. There is quite a broad soundstage here. The surrounds here are quite nice actually and come in a variety of forms thanks to different scenes, be it crowds at football games, the prom scene and much more. The music here is well mixed through the channels and the .1 LFE is quite strong, actually. Things are basically kept to the front mostly though, while dialogue is pretty clear. However, it did sound a bit low and muted at times. But in the end, this track has rather high fidelity and suits what you're watching. Also included is a French Dolby Surround track, English subtitles, French subtitles and English closed captions.

 

This isn't a special edition for nothing, and Columbia/Tri-Star has delivered a very nice array of supplements for the film which I'm sure fans will be pleased with. First up, we have three commentaries. Our first Audio Commentary with Director Joel Gallen and Co-Writer Michael G. Bender is decent. It's nothing great, but nothing too terrible either. Basically, this commentary is quite dry and serious. There are no pauses, as Gallen and Bender go through the movie pointing out the parodies, giving praise to the cast and just pointing out bits about the production. It's a bit boring and pretty standard, but if you want to know the most on crafting this parody flick, then do give it a listen.

The second and final Audio Commentary with Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Chris Evans, Eric Christian Olsen, and Eric Jungmann is much better. I have mixed feelings on actor tracks. Some are good, some are bad... but this one is actually quite good. This isn't edited stuff, but rather, a free environment where all the actors are together, point out stuff and share a bunch of laughs. They share little details, but it's basically them coming together and having a good time on their work, all measured in with their own experiences.

Finally, the subtitle track, entitled Teen Movie Factoids is just plain bad and probably one of the worst subtitle tracks I've experienced. If you know nothing about teen movies, then turn this on and watch. But doesn't that defeat the whole purpose though? Aren't you supposed to know what is going to get parodied ahead of time so you know what kind of jokes to expect? In that case, you wouldn't get the movie and this subtitle track would ruin it for you. This track isn't interesting at all. It basically points out every reference and every actor in the film and some "inspirations" - which is basically repeated information. Unless you're really interested in this one, I'd avoid it... it just takes up space on the screen and you really won't get much out of it. Thankfully, it can be turned on and off as you please. Not like other tracks where you have to go to the menu to turn it on and off. Here, a subtitle button on your remote will take care of everything.

School's In Session lasts about a half-hour, and is three featurettes broken down (they're all in full frame and feature behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the movie). The first, "Best Dressed," talks about the production aspects of the movie and what was down on a limited budget. The main focus here is on costume designer Florence Isabelle-Meggisson and production designer John T. Garrity. I actually found this one fairly interesting on what they accomplished and how. Pretty insightful, actually. Maybe these two should have gotten their own commentary! Next is "Class Clown" which is basically hosted by John Hartigan, a special effects guy on the film, who talks about the visual gags and how all those worked. Pretty interesting and technical, actually. Finally, "My Freshman Year" has interviews with the cast and Gallen as they all praise one another, the set's atmosphere and so on. Not bad, even if it's a bit tedious.

Next we have 18 Deleted Scenes, all in good quality anamorphic widescreen (nice!) and two channel sound. There is no optional commentary. These scenes last about twenty-six minutes in total. Some are extended scenes of other scenes, some are short and some are long. Basically, we don't need a commentary. These are cut out for a reason... they're rather vague and not that funny (just like 95% of the movie). Still, they're here for you to watch. Maybe you'll enjoy them more than I did...

We also have the uncut version of Marilyn Manson's music video remake of the 1980s hit Tainted Love. It's a cool video, and before the video starts, there is a pretty nifty Behind-The-Scenes Making-Of featurette with interviews with Manson, Gallen, some of the cast, and others. Enjoyable. We also have The Yearbook, lasting a bit under seven minutes. It's an animated photo gallery of the cast and crew basically. Okay if you're into that sorta deal.

The Auditions Montage lasts a little over three minutes and thirty seconds, and is interesting. It's basically the cast just trying out for their roles, and it's all mashed together. It's pretty fun, actually. We also have Test Your Teen Movie I.Q. Yes, it's another DVD-video based game. Gallen and the cast host it. You get asked questions and pick the answers. It's not that bad actually, and one of the better trivia games. Maybe because it's actually somewhat challenging and that you really need to know your stuff, and it's presented in a fun manner.

Rounding the set out is Joel Gallen's first film, Car Ride in non-anamorphic widescreen. It's a nice addition I suppose to show off the director's work, and is a decent short flick (and stars once MTV hostess Jenny McCarthy). We have some fun Meet The Cast Promos which I assume were used in the marketing campaign where the characters explain themselves and their motives. And finally, a slew of Theatrical Trailers, all in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (except "Big Daddy" which is full frame) and 5.1 Dolby Digital (sweet!). We have trailers for "Not Another Teen Movie" (it's in bad shape actually), "The New Guy," The Animal, "Saving Silverman," "Big Daddy" and "Loser."

 

"Not Another Teen Movie" is a disappointing parody of a genre some of us love and some of us hate. Whether we love teen movies or not, we all can't resist them being made fun of. Too bad this movie really isn't funny. However, this DVD is quite strong. It features a good sound mix, a great transfer and a nice bulk of supplements. If you're interested in it, it's worth a rental, but odds are you really won't enjoy it. But if you're a giant fan of the movie, it's worthy of your money.