Owen Gleiberman
October 01, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Drive Me Crazy

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
91 minutes
performer
Adrian Grenier, Melissa Joan Hart
director
John Schultz
distributor
Fox Home Video
author
Rob Thomas
genre
Comedy, Romance

We gave it a C+

As an actor, Adrian Grenier didn’t hit a false note in ”The Adventures of Sebastian Cole,” but as a teen-movie idol he pushes the limits of smoldering, puppy-eyed adorability; he might be the lost love child of Jim Morrison and Brigitte Bardot.

In Drive Me Crazy, Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart (in her first star vehicle) play high schoolers from opposite cliques who agree to date in order to make their respective dream mates jealous. Chase (Grenier), a moody rebel, pretends to be part of the straight set so that he can convincingly go out with Nicole (Hart), a perky achiever. Suddenly, he’s cheering at basketball games, buying a Gap leather jacket, and singing along to the most unctuous band of the ’80s, REO Speedwagon.

”Drive Me Crazy” depicts high school as a shockingly superficial series of fashion choices. The movie doesn’t seem to understand that a guy like Chase would be profoundly embarrassed to be making over his entire personality. At times, though, the film is amusing in its very shallowness. When the characters’ differences melt away, their romantic union is underscored by an all-girl punk band playing… REO Speedwagon. That’s either a triumph of hubris or the most ungainly sellout ever imagined.

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