Friday, January 7, 2011

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

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