I'm not a 'teen' and I still enjoyed it thoroughly. Drew Barrymore is great and totally believeable as the nerd who is an ugly duckling on the outside but a swan on the inside, who returns to school for an undercover job as a reporter, where she ultimately finds herself.
When I saw this at the pictures, the whole audience was totally absorbed by the film and vocally sympathised with Josie's humiliating flashbacks and laughed out loud at her charming awkwardness.
David Arquette as her 'cool' and 'popular' brother was inspired casting and Michael Vartan as the teacher she falls for plays his part perfectly.
These three actors alone make the film well worthwhile. Watch it and see.
The flashbacks to Josie's teenaged years, especially the prom night fiasco, are incredibly touching and painful to watch. The chance to go back to high school and be one of the cool, popular people is almost every geek's ultimate fantasy; as this movie shows, though, such acceptance by your teenaged peers does not guarantee happiness--what matters most is being true to yourself and to your real friends. The love story component of the movie ends up seeming a little rushed and could have used a little more foundational structure, but its culmination is a beautiful, heartwarming thing. Along the way, there are plenty of laughs, as Josie's attempts to fit in at high school are both pitiful and hilarious.
Look for a definitely pre-Dark Angelish Jessica Alba as one of the cool girls and SNL's Molly Shannon as Josie's friend Anita. David Arquette is quite good (much less annoying than usual) but does not seem to merit the sharing of the main credits. To be honest, this rather formulaic movie with its stereotypical depiction of high school society could have been a forgettable, disappointing experience had it starred someone without Drew's immense acting ability and natural charm. For that reason I am giving it only four stars, but I must say I myself never tire of watching this funny, heartwarming movie.
Drew Barrymore plays Josie, sent back to high school, undercover, to do a report on today's youth. She desperately wants to do well, as this is the big chance she has been waiting for.
It's not that easy, though. When she was an actual high school student, she was far from popular. Now, on return, it all seems to go the very same way.
She requests the help of her brother, whose wish it has always been to be part of a football team. Everyone immediately loves him, and by pretending to have been Josie's boyfriend and still being crushed that it wasn't meant to be, she slowly becomes accepted.
Except... there is that really cute teacher, who thinks she is a teenager and thus out of his reach...
This film is sweet and I genuinly cared for Drew's character, sometimes cringing on her behalf. And the end scene... I so wanted it to go well!
Yes, it is predictable, yes, it is another film set in an American High School and yes, the storyline on the whole isn't amazingly original. But it's done well and it is one of those lovely feel-good movies.
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