HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 September 2003
Speaking as a long-time fan of teen movies, I was quite impressed by the scope and quality of this motion picture. I don't generally go for gross-out humor, but this film takes a slightly higher road than, say, Scary Movie, actually striving to encapsulate all of the bits and pieces of years of other movies into a coherent plot. Sure, there are a few aspects of real raunchiness included here, with two scenes in particular being pretty disgusting, but the movie never sunk to the level of becoming distasteful to my eyes. I also have to admire the verve with which the filmmakers went about their tasks; if you are going to do a full-fledged parody, I say don't hold back, and Not Another Teen Movie does not hold back at all, especially in terms of the language. This movie is brash and unafraid, and that is a real factor in its success.
I was amazed by the vast number of movies that found themselves ridiculed and incorporated into this film; I was expecting send-ups of teen comedies from the past ten years, but this movie draws heavily from a number of classic 80s films and even snatches a few things from 1970 classics such as Grease. Even a number of films I wouldn't consider teen movies (but which do feature teens) are pulled into this satirical universe – e.g., American Beauty. This could almost be a weakness because today's teens may be unfamiliar with a lot of the parodies involved in this production; having come of age in the 80s, I easily spotted the references to classics such as Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, etc., but I wonder how many of today's teens pick up on little things such as the name of the high school (John Hughes High), understand the origins of a character such as Ricky, or see the significance of the prom dress Janey Briggs wears. Of course, the most obvious nod to 80s teen movies comes in the form of Molly Ringwald's unusual cameo appearance and the impressive homage to The Breakfast Club, which I admit left me feeling a little older than I would like to be. I think it is safe to say that those unfamiliar with teen movies of the last twenty years will get little enjoyment out of Not Another Teen Movie; you have to know the source of the parodies in order to really "get" them, and the mere task of trying to count the number of different movie reference can be a source of amusement in and of itself.
The DVD comes loaded with extras. If you have only a limited knowledge of teen movies, you may want to start by taking the Teen Movie I.Q. Quiz; if you score less than 50% on the quiz, you would do well to bone up on your teen movie knowledge before taking the step of actually watching Not Another Teen Movie. The list of additional special features, I must say, is legion: commentaries by both filmmakers and cast, 18 deleted scenes including the original ending, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast promos, an illuminating yearbook montage featuring the class of John Hughes High, a collection of cast member auditions, movie trailers, Meet the Cast promos, and a track of teen movie factoids. But wait, there's even more. First-time feature film director Joel Gallen's first short film is thrown into the mix, alongside a Behind the Video look at the unrated version of Marilyn Manson's Tainted Love video. If you think the likes of Mia Kirshner, Chyler Leigh, and Jaime Pressly are hot in the movie (and I don't know how you could think otherwise), you really want to see this video.