If ever there were a sub-genre of movies that was overripe for skewering, it'd be the High School Comedy. Since most of these movies feature the exact same plots, characters, themes, and messages, the 'teen flick' certainly lends itself perfectly to satire. And while it's far from anything resembling a "good film", Not Another Teen Movie manages to be extremely funny ... sometimes. At its best, this joyously vulgar farce does a fantastic job of deflating the walking cliches and stock stereotypes, and delivers some solid laughs to those audience members familiar with the source material.
Basically, if you're sick to death of seeing the "ugly pretty girl" chase the "handsome jock" while avoiding the "obsessed best friend" and defeating the "bitchy cheerleader" while the "cocky blonde guy," the "obese hayseed," the "token black guy," the "freaky goth," the "frequently naked foreign girl," and the "horny freshmen" wander through the high school hallways ... then Not Another Teen Movie is something you'll probably enjoy. At least a little.
The plot of this profane and intermittently hilarious spoof is basically meaningless (although it seems to follow most closely to 1999's She's All That). Since the movie exists solely to reference and lampoon as many films as possible, it's only logical that the plot would end up choppy, scattershot, and more than a little episodic. (In this respect, no comedy has yet dethroned Airplane! as The Perfect Spoof Movie.)
In an effort to include seemingly every teen flick of the past 5 years, Not Another Teen Movie pokes fun at American Pie, Varsity Blues, She's All That, Cruel Intentions, Jawbreaker, Can't Hardly Wait, Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bring It On, Road Trip, Final Destination, etc., etc. Classic teen movies are skewered as well, including Risky Business, Sixteen Candles, Porky's, The Breakfast Club, Rudy, and Pretty in Pink. (Non-teen movies are also fair game; you'll find a few pokes pointed towards Almost Famous, American Beauty, and several others.)
While director Joel Gallen and his five (yes, five) screenwriters certainly earn extra credit for their cinematic research skills, the flick's laughs-to-groans ratio is alarmingly high. A handful of truly uproarious sequences are mired amidst several jokes that simply flop onto the screen and lie there. Basically, you'll have to sit through some truly weak material to get to the good stuff here. Fortunately, the best segments are generally worth waiting for.
One of Not Another Teen Movie's main assets is its colorful cast. With an 'anything for a laugh' attitude and a delightful affinity for spouting the most disturbing vulgarities imaginable, this collection of performers deserves most of the congratulations for the funniest bits. Jaime Pressly gets the most mileage out of her character, playing the gorgeous and heartless head cheerleader. Sam Huntington delivers a dead-on impression of Chris Klein and earns some solid giggles, while the lovely Mia Kirshner does a nice job with a thanklessly ugly role. (She plays the incestuous "cruel" girl.) And watch out for Eric Jungmann, who spoofs Jon Cryer with remarkably funny results.
One of movie's bigger problems is that it often recedes back into the very mold it's trying to parody. The American Pie series has seemingly perfected the "bodily fluids" line of gags, so there's no real need for the massive explosion of feces that occurs about halfway into Not Another Teen Movie. A spoof should be cautious and confident enough to not emulate the material that it's trying to humiliate.
As far as what you'll find in this "unrated extended director's cut," I have to say that it's nothing all that exciting. Several of the deleted scenes found on the previous DVD release have been re-incorporated back into the movie; there are also a few "brand new" snippets that have been stuck back in (seemingly at random). Even stranger: Most of the "new stuff" consists of small jokes and dialogue bits -- so if you're expecting a lot of extra naughty nakedness, you're going to walk away a bit disappointed. As far as I can tell (it's been over a year since I've seen the theatrical cut) you'll get a few more peeks at the butt-nekkid foreign exchange student (after registering for class and then later again at the prom), a pointless pillow fight between two lingerie models; a few more gags at the diner, the party, the barbecue, and the football game; and several small "character" bits between the nerd and the jock, the nerd and the wallflower, the jock and his dad, the jock and his nauseatingly incestuous sister...
But here's the annoying part; the original Not Another Teen Movie DVD offered 18 deleted scenes, about half of which have been put back into this "unrated" cut, and very few of which are actually worth a damn. And the "brand new" footage that wasn't on the first DVD? Well, think about it: How good can a deleted scene be if it wasn't even included in the old "deleted scenes" section? Bottom line? I say stick with the original DVD if you already own it. (More on why in the Extras section below.)
Video: Widescreen (1.85:1) Anamorphic transfer, and it looks pretty damn great. Although the movie's directed with very little in the style department, NATM is a fairly colorful affair, and the picture quality helps out a whole lot.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English) and 2.0 French are your options. The frequent rock tunes pipe through quite smoothly, and you'll be able to hear all the smut-tastic jokes in fine aural form.
First, here's what's missing from the previous release:
-Two audio commentaries: one with director Joel Gallen & writer Mike Bender, and the other a rather goofy cast commentary.
-Any and all deleted scenes. Those that were put back into the flick are here, of course, but the others have been ash-canned entirely. Strange.
And here's what's been ported over from the original DVD:
School's in Session is a behind-the-scenes featurette that's broken down into three chapters:
Freshman Year -- Clips, cast & crew interviews, back-patting and praise all around. (13:08)
Best Dressed -- Production design and costume work. (9:05)
Class Clown -- Pratfalls, poop jokes, sight gags, fart noises, dance numbers, and raunchy props. (9:25)
Marilyn Manson's fairly raunchy "Tainted Love" video (which, not surprisingly, I liked quite a bit) and a 5-minute "making the video" featurette that features a bunch of clips and interviews.
An auditions montage that runs about 3.5 minutes.
A 7-minute automated photo gallery called (cleverly enough) "The Yearbook."
A series of Meet the Cast Promos that break down each of the characters into their most simplistic stereotypes.
Test Your Teen Movie I.Q. is a fun little quiz that offers a bunch of questions on various teen movies. You'll enjoy it the first time through ... and never look at it again.
Director Joel Gallen's short film entitled Car Ride, which is nothing like his feature-length debut. Like, nothing at all.
And, of course, the always-popular trailer gallery, which boasts the promotional clips for D.E.B.S., Guess Who, 50 First Dates, Kung Fu Hustle, Layer Cake, Hitch, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, Boogeyman, and The Cave ... but not the trailer for Not Another Teen Movie.
Lastly, here's a list of the special features that are new to this release:
For every joke that soars in Not Another Teen Movie, there are another two (or three) that fail pretty miserably. But still, and against my better judgment, I can happily label this raunchy little spoof a hardcore "guilty pleasure" of the silliest kind. A fantastic young ensemble helps out immeasurably (the ladies are particularly good), and the flick has a sunny, smutty disposition that's almost impossible to dislike. Not Another Teen Movie might not be much of an improvement over the films it's poking fun of, but at least this one's funny on purpose.
As far as this whole "unrated" gimmick is concerned, I say stick with the original DVD; it actually gives you more material (what with the bountiful vault of deleted scenes) and a pair of commentaries -- while this new release gives you just a few little snippets that you've never seen before. If you think they're more important than the deleted scenes and a decent pair of yak-tracks, then head on out and pick up a copy.
Either way, it's a stupid-funny flick that you do not want to watch with your parents ... or your children.
(Portions reprinted from my original (theatrical) review of the film.)