After years of teen horror, make way for teen comedy-especially comedy that owes a debt to ’80s soft-corn masters like John Hughes and Jon Cryer. Below, how to crack the code (and there will be a test).
SHE’S ALL THAT (Miramax, January)
After dumpage by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Freddie Prinze Jr. bets he can morph art geek Rachael Leigh Cook into a prom queen.
FORMULA: My Fair Lady + Beverly Hills, 90210 [divided by] Clueless
GO (Sony, March)
Chronicles the dubious adventures of grocery clerks (Katie Holmes, Sarah Polley), gay soap stars (Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr), and party boys (Taye Diggs, Desmond Askew) who all converge on the underground scene in L.A.
FORMULA: Pulp Fiction x Drugstore Cowboy — Very Bad Things
CRUEL INTENTIONS (Sony, March)
High-society step-siblings Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe plot the seduction of virginal Reese Witherspoon and make a wager on the result. Dawson’s Creek‘s Joshua Jackson also enters the sordid fray.
FORMULA: Dangerous Liaisons + Metropolitan x Scream 2
NEVER BEEN KISSED (Fox, April)
Reporter Drew Barrymore goes back to school to get the scoop on what’s in and ends up facing her own geek past.
FORMULA: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (x Cameron Crowe) + Weird Science (— Kelly LeBrock) [divided by] Hiding Out (— Jon Cryer)
AMERICAN PIE (Universal, April)
Four seniors bound to lose their virginity by prom night find (surprise!) meaningful realizations about life. Objects of their affection include Alyson Hannigan (Buffy) and Natasha Lyonne (Slums of Beverly Hills).
FORMULA: Stand by Me + Losin’ It x Can’t Hardly Wait
TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (Touchstone, April)
Popular Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) is socially crippled because a family edict prohibits her from dating until her social-zero sister Kat (Julia Stiles) gets a beau; relationship hell breaks loose when a potential Bianca suitor (Andrew Keegan) bribes a pal (Heath Ledger) to win Kat.
FORMULA: The Taming of the Shrew [divided by] MTV’s Daria
KILLING MRS. TINGLE (Miramax, summer)
An honor student (Katie Holmes) and her faculty nemesis (Helen Mirren) explore the murderous (and comic) lengths kids go to get good grades. The directing debut of Scream-meister Kevin Williamson.
FORMULA: The Breakfast Club + The Faculty x The WB