10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
Directed by Gil Junger
Written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith,
based on the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Starring Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles,
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, Larry Miller
My Advice: Wonderful Teen fluff....a must
Rating: out of
Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) is the new kid at Padua High and while
being given the guided tour by his trusted lackey Michael (David Krumholtz) he runs into Bianca (Oleynik). Hopelessly
smitten, he vies for her affection only to learn that according to her father (Miller), Bianca can't date until
her sister, Kat (Stiles), does. The problem is that Kat is known around school for her, to put it mildly, caustic
personality. They work a deal to get Kat's opposite and fellow mutant, Patrick (Ledger), to take her out so that
Cameron can get his chance.
Sound familiar? Well, it should. It's another update of Shakespeare
for the MTV generation (whoever the hell they are) and although not as stylized and brilliant as its predecessor,
Romeo + Juliet, it still manages to succeed with a charming sense of clumsy cuteness. The film actually gets points
for casting people who look like they could actually be in high school. This isn't like the old days of John Hughes
where thirty-five year old were playing freshmen and stuff. But regardless.
Where the film excels is in the fact that it's actually funny,
albeit in a sophomoric kind of way. And the film is at its funniest when focusing on the adult characters. These
truly are the funniest characters in the film, although Krumholtz' endearing and fawning Michael is rather amusing
as well. But, for fear of giving something away here, I'll shut the heck up!
The leads do reasonably well, with Ledger and Stiles spewing
venom whenever they can -- they make a good on-screen couple. Gordon-Levitt is decent as the obligatory nice guy
who just wants to date the vapid Bianca. And give Oleynik points for vapidity--she's got it down pat, though unfortunately
that makes her role completely colorless in the face of the others. In fact, whenever she and Stiles are in a scene
alone together, you can feel your skin crawling as the dialogue goes straight down the slippery slope to Bad Teen
Movie Hell. That's basically the problem with the film in general--when it's being its goofy funny self, it scores.
When it tries to do the serious family bit with the obligatory "you don't understand me" and "why
won't you let me grow up" stuff then it falls short.
All in all, I found it an amusing enough romp. And, as my 11
year old daughter watched it a total of 6 times over a three day period, I think it hits the proper mark.