Not Another Teen Movie

Year: 2001
Studio: Columbia
Director: Joel Gallen
Producer: Neal H Moritz
Writer: Michael G. Bender/Adam Jay Epstein/Andrew Jacobson/Phil Beauman/Buddy Johnson
Cast: Chyler Leigh, Jaime Pressly, Mia Kirshener, Lacey Chabert, Cerina Vincent, Chris Evans

Eventually the Airplane! and Young Doctors in Love style fell out of fashion and the Zucker brothers went wandering into Hollywood wastelands, producing TV movies and a string of increasingly lame gag comedies (like Wrongfully Accused) until some studio executive realised they were going nowhere and pulled the plug.

After that the genre fell mostly dormant until the Wayans' brothers breathed new (albeit much lower quality) life into it with the Scary Movie series (ironically now taken over by a Zucker).

The Airplane! -style movie parody (where a film takes potshots at a collection of styles or a genre - usually a serious one) has never reached the same heights as the Zuckers' early gatling-gun velocity. Later efforts by them just weren't funny, and the Wayans' went instead for R-rated Farrelly brothers, relying on the disgusting instead of the funny.

But Not Another Teen Movie is a cut above most parody movies of the last few years, if only because some of the barbs are sharp, and because you can see it loves the genre it's sending up so shamelessly (and it's always in the details, like the Harry Dean Stadium).

Despite the entire hook of the film being the corny teen movie stereotypes, the plot itself is lifted straight from a dozen teen films, where the handsome hero jock makes a bet he can turn the ugliest girl at school into the prom queen (the ugliest girl at school is repulsive because of her glasses, ponytail and paint-stained overalls).

Right down to the token black guy (to the point where he asks another black dude to leave the party because they can't both be the only black guy there), every character is instantly recognizable, and every scene has an eerie ring of familiarity, once again testimony to the knowledge of the genre the writers are poking fun at.

Between the dumb fat guy whose concussions left until certain death are counted on the football ground scoreboard and the wholesome all American cheerleader with the unfortunate Tourette's syndrome, there are hundreds of laughs - some silly, some thankfully sharp as tacks (whereas the older parody comedies lost their luster when they became too PG rated and started to treat the audience like idiots), all crammed into the running time.

Sometimes they're at the expense of logic and plot, but that's the point. A must see for anyone who grew up on Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club and who's known and loved them so well you can sit around with your friends and make fun of them.

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