Get Over It

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4 out of 10

Okay, I'm over it.
Rating: 4 out of 10.

Toby Baldwin's review of Get Over It.

Here's a game to try with your friends. It's called "Guess the Teen Comedy." Here's what you tell them: a young man tries anything and everything to win the affections of a particular young lady. Along the way he enlists the help of his loyal female best buddy, and despite the numerous touching moments they share along the way, he never realizes until almost too late that his girl buddy is not only more of a hottie, but is in fact way better in every way than the girl he's been trying to get. He finally clues in, the buddy becomes his betty, and they live happily forever and ever amen. Now have them name the movie, and see how many different answers they come up with.

The first movie I remember using this now well-worn formula was 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful, written by John Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch. It obviously didn't start there; the classic Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park followed the same basic framework nearly two centuries ago. Countless reinventions have followed. Get Over It, unfortunately, isn't even the best rehash to have come out in the last year (Whatever it Takes had a slightly better cast and script, and a few laughs), and other than the performance by Dunst, has only a few nifty visuals to distinguish it from its predecessors.

Get Over It is the inauspicious sophomore effort by Tommy O'Haver (Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss). Let me focus on the nice touches first. I enjoyed several of the visuals in this movie, particularly at the beginning when Allison (played nondescriptly by newcomer Melissa Sagemiller) dumps Berke (Ben Foster, Liberty Heights). In one scene the screen dissolved into a psychadelic swirl; in another Berke watches Allison dance with her new love interest "Striker" (Shane West, protagonist of the aforementioned Whatever it Takes, and the son of Billy Campbell's character on TV's "Once and Again) and everyone else in the room disappears--not the first time I've seen such a thing, but O'Haver handled it nicely.

The 'gimmick' with which O'Haver tries to set this movie apart from others (and mostly fails) is centering the events around a modified stage production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I enjoyed the sequences in which Berke imagined himself and others as characters in the play; the forest looked neat and the three teenage wastoids flying around as little fairies with wings were almost funny. Many people saw Martin Short's (Three Amigos, Father of the Bride) turn as the plays director as a plus here; however, though he clearly gave an energetic effort to livening up the character, neither the dialogue nor the lines itself gave him anything to work with, and the effort is wasted (much like Parker Posey and Alan Cumming were squandered in the wretched Josie and the Pussycats).

Ben Foster makes a watchable, if unmemorable hero. I have a lot of respect for Shane West, who was rather likeable in the Berke-like role in Whatever It Takes. He is an actual guitarist, which earns major points in my book--you can see him play from time to time on "Once and Again." Not only that, but he can act. However (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), he is bad in this as well, thanks to a weak British accent that renders him aggravating.

I'd say pop star Sisqo is wasted as Berke's pal Dennis (a nod to Rodman, perhaps, as is the dark skin/bleached hair look?), but I see no indication that he has any acting talent to waste, and he does sing fairly well over the closing credits. Like many elements of the movie he is just there. Ditto for the parents (Ed Begley Jr. and Swoosie Kurtz) that are so permissive they drive Berke nuts. That is meant to be funny, but it has been done (well) before, and bombs here.

I'm getting to the good part--I promise--but let me get one more major complaint out of the way. The little dog that goes around humping everything in sight is not funny. Someone barfing in the punch and others obliviously drinking it later is not credible or funny. The accident-prone girl from New Zealand...okay, I cracked a smile on that one. But the comedic elements almost all fail. Like many 'teen comedies,' this movie only seems to work in the few sweet moments between characters, whether the two leads, Kelly (Dunst) and her brother (a strong but underused Colin Hanks, son of Tom), or a deleted scene between Berke and his mom. The sappy sentimentality is what I'm a sucker for--not the Bodily Function Sideshow Hall of Fame. She's All That similarly went astray with atrocities such as the pubic-hair-on-pizza scene (gag).

What does work very well is Kirsten Dunst. The movie around her is not as good as some of her previous films, but on the other hand it does not call for her to act ditzy the whole time, and she is extremely likeable and fun to watch. She can actually sing, too! The scene in which Kelly substitutes her own song into the play (okay, the idea's a little hokey, and the song's sappy, but there are worse things) was the best scene in the movie for me. The movie seemed to grind to a halt whenever Dunst wasn't on the screen. She radiates an intelligence and engaging presence beyond the rest of the cast. Strangely, that presence seems greater here, where she is the best thing in a nondescript film, than it does in films such as Spider-Man, where she’s supposed to be the “it girl.”

Does her presence alone, and the other small positive aspects I touched on, justify renting this (or even buying it)? Probably not. I read an interview where Dunst said she intends for this to be her last teen flick. Good for her. Given this and other teen-targeted movies' tepid performance at the box office, and the overall low quality, Dunst may not be alone in her feelings. The movie industry may be getting over it, too.

Worth renting? Maybe on a really slow night. Maybe.
Worth buying? Don't think so.
Suitable for kids? Not especially.
Year: 2001
Director: Tommy O'Haver
Length: 87 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some crude/sexual humor, teen drinking and language. (edited from R-rated version for re-rating)
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Review copyright 2003 by Toby Baldwin; originally written August 29, 2001

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