Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Italian Job (2003) [PG-13] ****

A film review by James Berardinelli for

The 2003 version of The Italian Job is less of a straightforward remake of the 1969 picture than it is a complete re-interpretation. Enough has changed that it's possible to see the two films not as the same story separated by three decades, but as distinct entities. Expectedly, there are plot similarities (the centerpiece heist contains many of the same elements, including the Mini Cooper automobiles), but the chemistry and motivations of the thieves is different, and the playful, semi-comedic tone of the original has been replaced by something a little less lighthearted.

It's easy to do a heist movie wrong – the genre is littered with countless examples, some by prominent filmmakers. Director F. Gary Gray has discovered the right recipe – keep things moving, develop a nice rapport among the leads, toss in the occasional surprise, and top with a sprinkling of panache. The Italian Job isn't a masterpiece, but it gets the job done. There are some problems (in particular, the climactic car chase – the one featuring the Mini Coopers – goes on a little too long), but, for the most part, I was entertained. There's a fair amount of suspense, and I was generally impressed by the thoroughness of the caper plots.

Despite being called The Italian Job, only about 20 minutes of the action takes place in Italy. The lion's share of screen time belongs to Los Angeles, with a quick stop in Philadelphia along the way. (It's worth noting that both the Venice and Philadelphia scenes appear to have been filmed on location, not in a surrogate city like Toronto. This is surprisingly important to the movie's strong sense of atmosphere.) There are three capers (or two and one-half, depending on how you count), the most audacious and ingenious of which occurs during the final 20 minutes. The Italian Job has plenty of little twists and turns, but the storyline is not so serpentine that the average viewer will find himself or herself becoming lost. Nevertheless, trips to the bathroom or snack bar are not recommended.

The movie opens in Venice, where a group of six crooks are about to pull off the heist of a lifetime: $35 million in gold, and they plan to do it without holding a gun. The rogues' gallery is comprised of: Charlie (Mark Wahlberg), the young leader running his first big job; John (Donald Sutherland), the crusty veteran safecracker who is Charlie's mentor; Lyle (Seth Green), the computer whiz who was the real inventor of Napster; Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), who once drove across the United States just so he could set the record for the longest freeway chase; Half Ear (Mos Def), who, at age 10, put one too many M80 firecrackers in a toilet bowl; and Steve (Edward Norton), who is about to betray the other five. Once they have the gold, Steve pulls a gun on John, shoots him, then leaves the others for dead. A year later, the group, now including John's daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron), a professional vault & safe technician, tracks down Steve and plots to take away the gold he stole from them (or what's left of it).

With this film, Mark Wahlberg is appearing in his third recent re-make (the other two: Planet of the Apes and The Truth About Charlie). Wisely, he doesn't attempt to mimic Michael Caine (who played the part in the original), but instead uses his own brand of understated charisma to get us to like Charlie. Charlize Theron, who is incapable of a low-wattage performance, brings some energy to her scenes with Wahlberg. Seth Green, Jason Stratham, and Mos Def alternately provide background muscle and comic relief. Edward Norton does his best Snidely Whiplash impersonation, right down to the mustache.

The Italian Job has occasional bursts of smart dialogue (There are [thieves] who steal to enrich their lives, and ones who steal to define their lives.), but not enough to elevate it to the level of David Mamet's most recent caper movie, Heist. And, while it boasts a less fatuous tone than the original (no Noel Coward or Benny Hill), there are times when it goes for the funny bone. As one of the early entries into the 2003 summer movie sweepstakes, The Italian Job delivers all that one could reasonably hope from it, and that makes it worth squeezing in between The Matrix Reloaded and The Hulk. [Berardinelli’s rating: *** out of 4 stars]

Labels: action, crime, thriller

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bicentennial Man (1999) [PG] ***

A film review by James Berardinelli.

Few things irritate me more than unrealized potential in a motion picture, and Chris ColumbusBicentennial Man is replete with it. The basic idea, about a robot's journey from household appliance to human being, is inherently fascinating, but, by relegating the story to a disappointing level of superficiality and never attempting to venture more than skin-deep into some intriguing themes, Bicentennial Man comes across like recycled, diluted Star Trek. Even Pinocchio had more substance. Bicentennial Man is more interested in being a parable about the nature of humanity than in being a science fiction movie, which is fine. The problem is that the final product is too trite to work as anything more than light, pointless entertainment. Laugh a few times at Robin Williams, cry a little at the manipulative, melodramatic finale, then get in the car and forget about it. Only someone deluded or hopelessly na├»ve would see this movie as profound.

Bicentennial Man, based on a 1976 Isaac Asimov story, owes as much to Star Trek: The Next Generation as it does to its stated source. (Although, to be fair, Star Trek frequently borrowed from Asimov.) The long-running syndicated television series featured a character named Data, who was an android seeking to achieve a semblance of humanity. This is precisely the situation we are presented with in Bicentennial Man, except that the synthetic entity is played by Robin Williams, not Brent Spiner. Over the course of its lengthy run, The Next Generation featured a number of stories focusing on Data's quest, some of which contained intriguing moral and ethical observations; Bicentennial Man doesn't come close. Perhaps those who have never watched Star Trek will be less irritated than those who have seen all of this done before, and much better.

The film opens in 2005. A father (Sam Neill) has just bought his family an NDR-114 robot to help with household chores. After being introduced to his owners, the robot spouts off the three directives that bind him: he must never injure a human being, he must obey all human orders, and he must protect himself. The robot, christened Andrew, soon forms a deep friendship with the youngest daughter, whom he refers to as Lil' Miss (Hallie Kate Eisenberg as a child, Embeth Davidtz as an adult). The years pass and members of Andrew's family grow old and die. He changes as well, receiving upgrades that make him look and act more like a person. But, the more human he becomes, the harder life is to cope with, since he must confront emotions like grief and love.

It's hardly worth discussing Bicentennial Man's thematic content, since the light, feel-good script has effectively emasculated nearly every possible area of interest. The movie sets up humanity as a noble goal worth striving for, without bothering to mention man's barbaric nature. Legal, medical, and technical issues are brushed aside as minor inconveniences. Andrew wants a bank account - no problem. Andrew wants a beating heart - no problem. Andrew wants to have sex - no problem. Admittedly, since the story spans 200 years, there's a need to condense, but the way this movie approaches things, little is left over aside from a half-baked romance and a big courtroom climax.

The best thing about Bicentennial Man is the production design. The film offers some eye-catching glimpses into the future, including visions of New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco during the late 21st century. We are also afforded an opportunity to see how wardrobe and home environments might change. Unfortunately, with so little of interest going on in the foreground, the viewer is given a significant opportunity to study such background details.

While Bicentennial Man's corps of actors won't be garnering any Oscar nominations, there are some capable performances. Sam Neill is his usual reliable self. Embeth Davidtz gets to play two roles (although, despite some superficial differences, they end up seeming like the same person). Wendy Crewson is capable as Neill's wife, and Oliver Platt, playing the affable scientist who works on Andrew's upgrades, has some of the film's best moments. On the down side, Hallie Kate Eisenberg is only on hand to ratchet up the cuteness factor, and Kiersten Warren, who portrays a female robot, is annoying. As for Robin Williams, Bicentennial Man's star - he is upstaged by the costume he has to wear during the movie's first half. Later in the proceedings, he's okay - nothing more or less. This is one of those features where Williams tries to mix humor and drama, and, as has been proven in the past, the approach really doesn't work.

However, while Williams has to bear some of the blame for Bicentennial Man's creative failure, the real culprit is Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, Stepmom), who forces every movie he directs into a model that oozes sentimentality, manipulation, and false emotion. While some of Columbus' early efforts were cute (like Home Alone and the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire), it didn't take long for him to turn into a filmmaker whose next project is inevitably more cloying than his last. Coupled with a hackneyed script, this quality assures that Bicentennial Man is unworthy of sharing the end-of-the-year screens with so many top-notch motion pictures. © 1999 James Berardinelli

Labels: drama, family, fantasy, romance, sci-fi

Internet Movie Database

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Entrapment (1999) [PG-13] ***

A 1999 film review by James Berardinelli, for

For roughly four decades, Sean Connery has been one of Hollywood's favorite leading men. Rugged, handsome, and (most importantly) bankable, the actor has generally been enough to assure at least a modest return at the box office. Recently, however, one has to wonder whether Connery still has what it takes to top the marquee for big-budget action films. Last year, he went down in flames with The Avengers before rebounding with a small role in the ensemble film Playing by Heart. Now, from director Jon Amiel (Copycat) comes Entrapment, a much-publicized caper movie that pairs Connery with 1998's delectable flavor of the year, Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro). The result is distinctly lackluster.

Part of the reason for Entrapment's failure is Connery. There's no energy in his performance. He's still likable and charismatic, but, now that he's past the age of sixty, he's no longer capable of the James Bond derring-do that once defined his screen personalities. However, to lay the full burden at the actor's feet would be both unreasonable and unfair. He is saddled with a script that, at its best, is inconsistent, and, at its worst, is laughably implausible and riddled with obvious flaws. And, while Zeta-Jones is definitely easy on the eyes, she's not given a whole lot to do other than tag along behind Connery and look sexy as the camera lingers over her shapely curves.

Those who belong to the movement trying to convince people that the millennium begins on January 1, 2001 will be mortally offended by Entrapment, which constantly refers to January 1, 2000 as the all-important date. The action takes place during the final two weeks of 1999, and focuses on the pursuit of master thief Robert Mac MacDougal (Connery) by insurance investigator Gin Baker (Zeta-Jones). Her scam to reel him in involves baiting him with a robbery opportunity he can't possibly pass up - overcoming the impressive security system at Bedford Palace to steal a $40 million ancient Chinese mask. But, the more we see of Gin (and we do see quite a bit of her), the more we wonder whether she's trailing Mac or playing both ends against the middle.

Significant weakness #1 with Entrapment is the nearly complete absence of conflict. Most of the movie features Mac and Gin planning and executing various capers -- an approach that's fun the first time, but tedious thereafter. All of the action and excitement come in the final 20 minutes, when the dynamic duo executes their New Year's Eve heist in the tallest building in the world. At this point, there are so many twists, contrivances, and implausibilities that I felt like throwing up my hands in disgust. Entrapment's denouement also offers one major surprise that seems clever until you consider the storyline in retrospect and realize that everything falls apart.

For me, the real attraction of Entrapment wasn't the crime tale, but the opportunity to experience what I hoped would be a perfect example of romantic chemistry. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few fitful sparks here and there, Connery and Zeta-Jones never click. There's minimal sexual tension; in fact, they often seem more like father and daughter than would-be lovers. Some will doubtlessly cite the age difference as the problem, but I don't think that's it. Some couples mesh well, while others don't. This is an example of the latter, and, since Entrapment demands some heat from Mac and Gin's relationship, its absence further weakens an already thin motion picture.

Besides Connery and Zeta-Jones, who appear (either together or apart) in nearly every scene, three other actors of note make appearances. Ving Rhames is criminally underused in the part of Thibadeaux, one of Mac's former partners who appears to have his own agenda. Will Patton, who never seems to play a good guy, is Hector Cruz, Gin's sneering boss (a totally superfluous character). Finally, Maury Chaykin slathers on a heavy layer of makeup to portray yet another in his patented gallery of colorful supporting individuals.

It really irritates me when movies can't even get the little details right. In Entrapment, there's a mathematical flaw that a seventh grader could have caught, yet it made it all the way to the screen. A mistimed clock is supposed to run fast for an hour, gaining one-tenth of a second for each minute over that period. By my calculation, that would result in a six second differential between the clock's time and real time. The film, however, maintains that it's ten seconds. Apparently, someone forgot that an hour is comprised of 60 minutes, not 100. This particular instance is indicative of the poor quality of writing and planning invested in this movie. At least the name is appropriate. Entrapment is a snare for all those lured to theaters by Connery's name, Zeta-Jones' beauty, and the false promise of an enjoyable caper film. 
© 1999 James Berardinelli

Labels: action, crime, romance, thriller

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) [R] ****

Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a smart, ruthless Wall Street mergers and acquisitions investment banker with a love of racing sailboats, sleek glider aircraft, gorgeous women, and priceless works of art. He's attracted to Claude Monet's 1908 painting of the monastery island of San Giorgio, identified as the first true work of Impressionist art. Of course, it's valued at $100 million and is a closely-guarded treasure at the Metropolitan Art Museum.

But Crown has a plan, and using a large-scale robbery as a diversion, he steals the Monet. Knowing that he can never sell the painting, and that he risks everything just possessing it, Crown devises an ingenious plan to hide the Monet so that it is perfectly safe, but not in his possession, at least not until the insurance claim is paid off.

Unfortunately Crown finds that Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), a beautiful, sexy, and tenacious insurance investigator for the Swiss insurer of the painting is on his trail. Crown and Banning begin to play a seductive cat and mouse game, and as Crown starts to fall for the woman, it gradually becomes clear that he cannot have both her and the Monet, and that he has a decision to make.

This is a far better scripted, directed and acted film than the 1968 film of the same name starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Brosnan and Russo have terrific romantic chemistry, and the museum Bowler Hat scene as Crown attempts to return the Monet is incredibly stylish and inventive. If you've enjoyed Pierce Brosnan in his James Bond roles, you won't want to miss The Thomas Crown Affair. You'll also want to check out this webpage The Thomas Crown Affair for more information on the film, including filming locations and songs used in the soundtrack. 

Labels: crime, drama, romance, thriller     

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 72/100
Tomatometer (critics=69, viewers=77)

For Love of the Game (1999) [PG-13] ****

Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) has been a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers for his entire pro baseball career. Now after eighteen years, in the twilight of his great, hall-of-fame career, he learns that his team is being sold to a corporate group, and his girlfriend Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston) is leaving him to take a job in London.

As Billy's friend and favorite catcher Gus Sinski (John C. Reilly) observes: Billy, this ain't your day! But what happens to Billy and Gus and the rest of the Tigers on that fateful day in Yankee Stadium at the end of a long season is truly magical. This is a great baseball-themed romantic drama. Costner and Preston have terrific romantic chemistry; there's a great screenplay with some memorable dialogue, a beautiful soundtrack and excellent cinematography. If you enjoyed films like Field of Dreams, The Natural and The Rookie, you won't want to miss For Love of the Game.

Labels: baseball, drama, romance
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 43/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=61, viewers=66)

Guinevere (1999) [R] ****

Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) feels like a misfit. It's her older sister's wedding day, and while Harper is supposed to go to law school in the fall, she feels out of place in a family in which her domineering, emasculating mother (Jean Smart), her compliant father, and her brilliant sister are all successful San Francisco attorneys. Harper wants to rebel, to run away more than anything, because she doesn't really want to go to law school.

And then she meets Cornelius Connie Fitzpatrick (Stephen Rea), the wedding photographer. He's straight out of San Francisco of the 1960s, Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation, the Black Hawk and Hungry I nightclubs and the City Lights bookstore. Connie has a bohemian philosophy and a North Beach loft. He takes a pensive, soul-revealing photograph of Harper at the wedding, signs it To Guinevere and offers her a way out. She can live in his loft with him. All she has to do is work, create something... photograph, paint, sculpt, write or dance. And, of course, share his bed.

And so Harper makes a choice to stay with Connie, to learn from him. What she doesn't know is that she is only the latest in a long line of starry-eyed ingenues who have been Guinevere to this aging alcoholic photographer. Inevitably Harper falls in love with Connie, with his past celebrity as a North Beach photographer, and just as inevitably he breaks her heart. Somehow Harper and Connie both know when their relationship has run its course, and the inevitable ending leaves Harper older, sadder and wiser.

As a modern, sensitive portrayal of the classic Svengali story, Guinevere works because of an excellent screenplay, a great supporting cast, and because Sarah Polley and Stephen Rea are so believable in their roles. If you enjoy character-driven, romantic dramas about artists and the process of creating art, films like The Anniversary PartyHow to Make an American Quilt, Sirens, Still Breathing and The Shape of Things, then you might enjoy Guinevere.

Labels: drama, romance, tragedy     

Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 68/100     
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=69, viewers=62)

NOTE: Writer/director Audrey Wells might have modeled the character of Cornelius Connie Fitzpatrick after noted S.F. Bay Area photographer Jerry Stoll (b.1924 - d.2004). One of Stoll's best-known publications was his popular photo-essay book I AM A LOVER (1961), with selected comments by Evan S. Connell, Jr.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Notting Hill (1999) [PG-13] *****

William Thacker (Hugh Grant), the shy, protective owner of a travel bookstore in London's quaint Notting Hill district, crosses paths with Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the world's most famous and most temperamental film actress. William offers Anna a welcome refuge from her surreal world of fame and paparazzi. Will she return his love for her, or will she break his heart?

This is a delightful romantic comedy; Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant have wonderful chemistry, the supporting cast is outstanding, and the ending is happy, uplifting, and believable. And, if you love Notting Hill, you won't want to miss Just Write, a charming romance, with an independent film flavor, on a very similar theme: a Hollywood tour bus driver who dreams of being a screenwriter meets his favorite young actress. 

Labels: comedy, filmmaking, romance

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 66/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=71, viewers=66)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) [PG-13] *****

Padua High School in present-day Seattle is the setting for this updated version of The Taming of the Shrew. Katarina Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is a senior, and she has a reputation as a man-hater, or as her guidance counselor Ms Perky (Allison Janney) puts it - heinous bitch is the term used most often. Kat has a younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) a sophomore, and Bianca is everything that Kat is not... dewy-eyed, virginal and innocent. Bianca would love to be dating boys, but their paranoid OB-GYN physician father Dr. Walter Stratford (Larry Miller) has ruled that Bianca cannot date until Kat does, which may be never.

But all is not lost. Bianca has caught the eye of Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); and Cameron's buddy Michael (David Krumholtz) has come up with an ingenious plan. They must find a suitor for Kat, so Cameron can date Bianca. They decide Patrick Verona (the late Heath Ledger) is their man. Patrick is a recent transfer to Padua, and he has an unsavory reputation, so Kat won't intimidate him. But Patrick won't date Kat for nothing, so they must convince Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan), a wealthy, self-absorbed male model who's also interested in Bianca, to bankroll Patrick, so Joey (and, secretly, Cameron) can date Bianca.

10 Things I Hate About You is one of the freshest, most original teen ensemble romantic comedies to come along in decades. The screenplay is tight and fast-paced; and the dialog is incredibly clever. Direction and editing are excellent. The casting is perfect; there are no weak performances. And the soundtrack is terrific. The action revolves around Kat and Patrick's romance and his efforts to convince her to go out with him. Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger have terrific chemistry, and you can see flashes of the brilliance that Ledger would develop further in later roles. If you enjoyed films like The Prince & Me and She's the Man, then I predict you'll really enjoy 10 Things I Hate About You. 

Labels: comedy, high school, music, romance, teenager    
Internet Movie Database     
Metacritic 70/100    
Tomatometer (critics=61, viewers=69)    

Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You
Final Scene - I Want You To Want Me

Two Ninas (1999) [R] ***

Marty Sachs (Ron Livingston) is a lonely New York City newspaper sports writer with no love life, no agent for his suspense novel, and no self-esteem. Then he meets two beautiful women named Nina. Nina Cohen (Cara Buono) could be his soul mate, but she’s been burned before and is very cautious. Nina Harris (Amanda Peet) gives him an adrenaline rush and great sex, but they have nothing in common. How can Marty find out which Nina is the right one for him? And by the time he does, will the two Ninas have discovered what he has been doing? Will Marty have jeopardized his one chance for happiness?

This thought-provoking movie asks us to define commitment and cheating, and speculate about what we would do in a similar situation. The screen writing is good, although Marty’s friend Davis (Bray Poor) is a distraction when he acts as the narrator. This film has a similar theme to a more recent Ron Livingston film, Little Black Book, also starring Brittany Murphy and Holly Hunter, so if you enjoyed that film, you might enjoy Two Ninas.  

Labels: comedy, romance
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 41/100
Tomatometer (critics=67, viewers=49)

Never Been Kissed (1999) [PG-13] ****

A film review by Roger Ebert, April 9, 1999.

Never Been Kissed stars Drew Barrymore as a copy editor for that excellent newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times. I recommend its use as a recruiting film -- not because it offers a realistic view of journalistic life, but because who wouldn't want to meet a copy editor like Barrymore? Even when she's explaining the difference between interoffice and intraoffice, she's a charmer. The movie's screenplay is contrived and not blindingly original, but Barrymore illuminates it with sunniness, and creates a lovable character. I think this is what's known as star power.

She plays a 25-year-old named Josie Geller, who despite a few unhappy early experiences with spit-swapping has indeed never really been kissed. At the paper, she issues copy-editing edicts while hiding behind a mousy brown hairdo and a wardrobe inspired by mudslides. Her editor, played as subtly as one of the Three Stooges by Garry Marshall, likes to pound the conference table with a bat while conducting meetings; he wants an undercover series on high school life and assigns Josie, because she looks young enough.

That sets up Josie's chance to return to high school and get it right. The first time around, she was known as Josie Grossie, an ugly duckling with braces on her teeth, hair in her eyes, baby fat, pimples and glasses. Barrymore does a surprisingly convincing job of conveying this insecure lump of unpopularity; it's one of the reasons we develop such sympathy for Josie.

Josie borrows a car from her brother Rob (David Arquette), a once-promising baseball player who now works in a store that's a cross between Kinko's and Trader Vic's. She adopts a new blond hairstyle and gets rid of the glasses. But her first day on her secret assignment gets off to the wrong start, thanks to a wardrobe (white jeans and a gigantic feather boa) that might have been Cruella DeVil's teenage costume. The popular girls mock her, but she's befriended by Aldys (Leelee Sobieski), leader of the smart kids: How are you at calculus? How would you like to join the Denominators? That's the math club, with matching sweatshirts.

Josie's unpopularity reaches such a height that her car is deposited by pranksters in the middle of the football field. Rob analyzes the situation and says she needs to be certified as acceptable by a popular kid. What kid? Rob himself. He enrolls in high school, and is popular by lunchtime, after winning a coleslaw-eating contest. Following his example, the students accept Josie, while Rob meanwhile reawakens his fantasy of playing for a state championship baseball team.

The title Never Been Kissed gives us reason to hope that Josie will be, sooner or later, kissed. Soon we have reason to believe that the kisser may be Mr. Coulson (Michael Vartan), the English teacher, and of course the taboo against student-teacher relationships adds spice to this possibility. Meanwhile, Josie's adventures in high school are monitored at the Sun-Times through a remarkable invention, a brooch that contains a miniature TV camera and transmits everything she sees back to the office. We do not actually have such technology at the Sun-Times, and thank heavens, or my editors would have had to suffer through Baby Geniuses. The story develops along a familiar arc. Josie has flashbacks to her horrible high school memories, but this time around, she flowers. Unspoken romance blooms with Mr. Coulson. Comic relief comes from Josie's friend Anita (Molly Shannon), who is mistaken for a high-school sex lecturer and offers advice startling in its fervor. Alas, Josie gets scooped on a story about the local teenage hangout, and her editor bangs the conference table some more. We are left to marvel at the portrait of Chicago journalism in both this movie and Message in a Bottle, which had Robin Wright Penn as a Tribune researcher. Apparently at both papers the way to get a big salary and an office is to devote thousands of dollars and weeks of time to an assignment where you hardly ever write anything.

Never Been Kissed is not deep or sophisticated, but it's funny and big-hearted and it wins us over. The credit goes to Barrymore. In this movie and Ever After: A Cinderella Story (and in The Wedding Singer, where I liked her a lot more than the movie), she emerges as a real star -- an actor whose personality and charisma are the real subject of the story. Never Been Kissed ends in a scene that, in any other movie, I would have hooted at. Without revealing it, I'll identify it as the five-minute wait. This scene is so contrived and artificial, it could be subtitled Shameless Audience Manipulation. But you know what? Because the wait involved Barrymore, I actually cared. Yes, I did.

Labels: comedy, drama, high school, romance, teenager

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 60/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=57, viewers=66)