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...Never Been Kissed (1999) ..
Barrymore is very cute. She is an actor you pull for. You want her to succeed. The aisle
is very crowded and there is a lot of gum on the floor. It will be difficult to get out of
the theater in the middle of the film without your shoes making a big sucking sound.
So stay a few more minutes and watch Drew Barrymore play Josie Geller, youngest copy editor on her Chicago newspaper. Remember that Drew Barrymore was Elliot's adorable little sister in E.T., even though E.T. is home already and you're stuck at the multiplex. Drew Barrymore has grown up now and she is dynamite. She's a wonderful physical comedian and when she's on the screen you can't take your eyes off her. So sit down. Maybe it'll get better.
It gets worse. Josie can't stop saying things like "when you fall in love the only thing in focus is you and that special person" to the sex-crazed clods in her newsroom. Worse, the premise is impossible. They want you to believe that the students in the high school in which Josie has enrolled (as an undercover newspaper reporter) won't recognize she's a fake even though she's light years more intelligent and mature and looks around 10 years older and is carrying a wire and a hidden camera.
And they won't notice that her brother (David Arquette) - who has enrolled in the same school to help her - is 23 years old. And her teacher (Michael Vartan) won't catch on even though Josie can quote Shakespeare and the rest of her class can't even count to two. And the teacher feels free to flirt shamelessly with her even though if he did in the real world what he does in the movie they would have him in a straightjacket making license plates inside of ten minutes.
Still, it's cold out and it's raining. You could catch pneumonia if you go out in weather like that. People in the theater are laughing. Maybe you're missing something? Ask the friend you came with. "Have you laughed yet?" "No, have you?" Then the nerdy girl (Leelee Sobieski), who has failed completely to convince us that she isn't really beautiful underneath the glasses, turns out to be beautiful underneath the glasses. And Josie's newspaper editor (John C. Reilly) keeps screaming at Josie: "Have sex with your teacher! Now THAT'S NEWS!" Somehow Josie's Shakespeare course has become Sex Ed. They're putting condoms on bananas. I kid you not. And Josie's condom flies up and hits the teacher in the eye! THAT'S IT! I'M OUTA HERE!
Wait. There's only five minutes left. Josie is in personal crisis. She is standing on a pitcher's mound and everyone in Chicago is there and in five minutes maybe the love of her life will show up and walk out onto the field and she'll get her first kiss. She's 26 years old, urbane, smart, gorgeous, and she's never been kissed. Okay, just go with it. Sit down and root for Josie. Look, here comes her true love. Ah Jeez, it's the idiot teacher. He kisses her. Smack. Twice. Smack smack. OK, HE KISSED HER! HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH. CHANGE THE TITLE! LET'S GO!
Why do all films about high school seem to be made by people who are so serious about trashing it? True, high school was awful, but it was certainly real. Never Been Kissed and the recent 10 Things I Hate About You aren't real, they're just dumb. This movie gets a DN8. This means do NOT spent $8 to see it. It also gets an RL5. This means rent it and watch only the last five minutes. Better yet, rent it with your girlfriend who likes romantic endings, but find something else you have to do until the last five minutes. The last five
minutes are good. That's when you walk in, sit down, watch Josie get kissed, lean down, and pucker up yourself. You can't lose.