Never Been Kissed- B
Viewed April 17, 1999 at Union Square 14

I'm probably overrating Never Been Kissed -- Drew Barrymore's latest is bad in a lot of ways, with gaping plot holes galore and a blithe disregard for how creepy its romantic plot is. But I enjoyed it. For every scene that falls to the floor with a clunk[1], there's a wonderful supporting character -- Garry Marshall[2], John C. Reilly, and Molly Shannon are all superb. There's a healthy dose of loopy humor -- the obligatory prom is a costumed dance with a theme of great couples and it's great fun noticing the pairings that pop up in the background[3]. Barrymore's mousy copy editor also has the oddly charming (especially since I find it incredibly annoying in real life) habit of correcting other people's grammar -- which is the kind of behavioural tic that one could see a copy editor having. I also liked that this is one of the few recent teen films that actually uses its soundtrack creatively -- note how the film goes through various modern recreations of Brian Wilson's particular genius (including R.E.M.'s gorgeous "At My Most Beautiful") until it climaxes at its big sloppy wet kiss of a climax with the real deal, "Don't Worry Baby".

[1]Barrymore's impassioned prom night speech is particularly wince-inducing.

[2]Who should stick to acting. Do you really want another film as bad as Exit to Eden to be unleashed on the world?

[3]Including amongst other things, DNA, and my favorite -- two wackos costumed as the Gilliam takes on Hunter Thompson and Dr. Gonzo.