Movie: Ten Things I Hate About You
Starring: Heath Ledger
Joseph Gordan Levitt
and David Krumholtz
Director: Gil Junger
Writer: Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith
Producer: Andrew Lazar, Seth Jaret
While the plot had some serious potential to do some magic,
it's still been done before, and the writers apparently didn't
add anything new to this familiar story-line.
In this prosaic, but clever teen flick, two sisters are
complete opposites. For the purpose of being metaphorical,
(since this flick was based on Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew,")
let's say they were as different as night and day. While
one is the most popular girl in school, the other is.. well..
she's the scariest girl in school. Kat (Julia Stiles) is the social outcast
who doesn't date, socialize or so much as care about what
anyone else thinks; in other words, she's the shrew. Bianca
(Larisa Oleynik) on the other hand, is your stereo-typical
all around cool sophomore chick. Every guy drools over her;
in particular, a guy named Cameron (Joseph-Gordan Levitt),
who just happens to be new
in town. However, there's one problem. A family rule
forbids Bianca to date until she graduates. As
things unfold however, the rule is bended so that
she CAN date... but only if her sister does.
Now, it's up to Cameron and his wacked out friends to get
Kat, miss shrew, a date. And guess who they pick? None other than the high-school
rebel, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). Things happen, people are payed,
bets are made, and surprising romances are on the way. Clever, witty
distractions add to plot as well. For instance, the teachers
are a refreshing distraction as Daryl Mitchell is an English
teacher rapping Shakespearian Sonnets. There's also a guidance
counselor who writes porn novels. (Ooh La La!) The whole
atmosphere of the flick was fun, and I liked that.
Some of what I didn't like, was the whole party scene. It
was boring. That pretty much sums it up. While it was
done before, I don't think that's WHY it was boring. In She's
All That, at least they added the whole dork/popular girl
face-off. In this one however, it was
just plain and dull. It was too much of an average
party and nothing we didn't expect to happen, happened.
Like usual, girl goes to party. Girl gets drunk. Girl
makes fool of self. Girl vomits. Sorry, but I've seen
it way too many times.
Moving on however, we go to the acting. I have HIGHLY mixed opinions in
this department so I'm debating between saying the good
first, or the bad. Let's go with the bad first.
While I commend the effort, I go against what Roger Ebert (and MANY others) say
in their review. (OH NO! Noone's gonna read my reviews
now...) But seriously, while Ebert said "I liked the
sweet tentative feeling between Ledger and Stiles," I gotta
say that I felt their acting was disappointing.
I hate to be mean, but I think they're attempts at
being smooth, sarcastic, and synical were really messed up.
While I appreciated Stiles' (Kat) approach towards the whole family
situation, I thought her dialogue with Ledger (Patrick) was
dry, flat, and not mean enough. I mean, this girls got some
issues. Her mother abandoned her family, she's rough in
soccer knocking everyone down, she talks back to the teachers,
and everyone in school think she's psychotic. If that's
not enough to talk with sincere synicism, I don't know what
Maybe I've been spoiled with the smooth dialogue of Dawson's Creek, but whatever the reason,
I simply felt that her lines were said without any realism.
Every so often, I was like "Oh.. was that a diss?" Or "Wait.. is she
trying to insult him here?" I mean, don't get me wrong.
The character of Katerina Stratford is an incredibly
difficult one to tackle so for a fresh face with little
or no experience, I really commend her. However, lines
like "Uh huh.. yeah," as comebacks really didn't help much.
I'm not completely sure right now weather her
acting was the problem, or the writing. However,
I just feel a little disappointed by what I saw up on
that big screen.
While I also appreciate the
effort that Ledger displayed, I think his character could
have been displayed a little better. Maybe it's the writing again,
but there just wasn't enough time for the two to actually
fall in love. It seemed like 2 minutes of talking allowed
them to get to know each other. The whole song thing, I thought,
was a but cheesy too. Nevertheless, both of their preformances
did gradually get better as the movie went on, so I'm not
TOTALLY annoyed, but just not completely satisfied. I have
to admit, when we first meet his character, a very convincing
preformance was caught on screen. However, as soon as
we meet him, with Kat, it's almost as if he completely
changes into this clumsy, stupid, goofy guy. Maybe that's
how it's supposed to be. Maybe that's how the writers interpret
us as teenagers. However, I don't think that's how a guy
of his initial character would react to "falling in love."
Even though I wasn't satisfied with THEIR preformances however,
I have completely condridicting comments
on the preformances by Levitt (Third Rock From the Sun) and Oleynik!
I LOVED their relationship, and the whole character build ups!
It was cute, and Oleynik did an excellent job in showing her
gradual attraction to the sweet and likable Cameron.
When we first meet Bianca, she's attempting to be "deep,"
in a totally well done scene where she compares "like,"
and "love." I almost died on the floor laughing when
she said the line "I like my Sketchers, but I love my Tommy
back-pack!" Well.. it was something like that. But anyway,
both of their acting jobs were nice, and I definately see
some potential in their future acting careers.
You can also tell that Levitt has the experience with
his work on 3rd Rock from the Sun. His acting was more
natural than that of Stiles and Ledger, and he seemed
comfortable up there. In one memorable scene he
questions Bianca "Have you always been this selfish?"
It was beautifully acted and the audience really feels
for his character; something that I had missed between
the whole Kat/Patrick romance. I really appreciate their acting,
and I do agree with Ebert when he said that at times,
you can tell that their awesome acting is trapped by the plot.
However, even though the plot may be a tad over done, I think
that it did have potential, and with the right actors and
actresses, it could have been a teen sensation. Well, at least
two roles were staged right!
In general though, I think I'm also learning to be a lot more
critical. While the movie definately has some work that
can be done, it's still an entertaining flick.
Some crude comedy is used not to most likable affect, but it's
still a movie that I think is worth checking out! I mean, it's
definately no She's All That, Clueless, or Sixteen Candles,
but every star has their start, and this flick is a pretty
good one. While it's not spectacular, I think that it's worth
five bucks, possibly eight if you want some popcorn. It's
definately a good teen flick; from references to Dawson's Creek,
to opening the film with a song by Bare Naked Ladies. All the jokes,
and even it's appeal, is aimed towards teenagers. I think it's
worth it, and you can generally appreciate the fun-loving
air that this film provides!