Volume 92, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 7, 1999


Never been kissed puckers for nothin'

OTC breeds American pop

Barker transcends genres

Blur escapes to a sonic masterpiece

Likable cast saves teen comedy

Likable cast saves teen comedy

By Sarah Duda
Gazette Staff

Thinking of 10 reasons why not to see this movie based on its teen angst promotional trailer would not be a difficult task. Fortunately, this film is actually better than its previews suggest. 10 Things I Hate About You manages to stand out as one of the better teen-oriented flicks which have flooded theatres this year.

The idea has some merit. Director Gil Junger has updated Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and marketed it towards today's largest movie-going group – teenagers. The result, due largely to the film's talented young actors, is a moderately entertaining character comedy.

The story takes place in and around a modern day Seattle high school, where the young, snobby and popular Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) has been forbidden to date by her overprotective father. Actually, the rule is Bianca can date, but not until her older and extremely anti-social sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Unfortunately for Bianca, Kat flat out refuses to socialize with any of the guys at her school, who in her opinion are all arrogant, self-obsessed misogynists.

Bianca's desperation grows stronger when two different guys ask her out. One, (Andrew Keegan) is the most popular guy in school, but he is also obnoxious and conceited. The other (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the stereotypical nice guy, who learns French just so he can tutor Bianca. Strangely, Bianca's two suitors join forces and offer the school's eccentric, good-looking loner Patrick (Heath Ledger) a good deal of money if he can get Kat to go out with him.

From here, the plot unfolds in a predictable manner. The complications which arise and the resolutions which follow will fail to surprise viewers in the slightest. Unlike the updated version of Romeo and Juliet, the dialogue in 10 Things is decidedly un-Shakespearean. In fact, the dialogue is the film's greatest weakness.

Thankfully, this weakness is offset by the colourful and unique characters who do the talking. All of the performances are surprisingly good, especially Stiles, who does an excellent job of portraying a hostile, frustrated high school senior fed up with the shallowness and superficiality of her classmates. Based on her performance in this film, Stiles should soon be one of the most sought after young actresses in Hollywood.

This movie is not as annoying as the teen-friendly films which have come before it. Keep in mind, however, its predecessors include such films as Simply Irresistible and Carrie 2. When the set standard is so low, it is not too hard to beat.

While 10 Things does offer viewers solid character development and some amusing moments, to see this film or not to see this film – that is the question? Why not?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999