Teen movies are stuck in an awkward age
Here’s what I don’t get: There’s no time in our lives more rife with drama and mortifying moments than when we’re teenagers. So how come, with startlingly few exceptions, that doesn’t translate to the big screen? Despite the industry’s perennial predictions that teen movies are on their way out, we’re being hit with a slew of them once again, and once again, there are some serious nose-holders among them.
In case you weren’t sated recently by ”Boys and Girls” (Claire Forlani as a college student? Hello?) or ”But I’m a Cheerleader” (Natasha Lyonne as a lesbian), two new additions to the genre are coming your way. This weekend, we’ve got the treat of ”The In Crowd,” in which a pretty teenage girl, fresh from a lunatic asylum, befriends an equally loony psycho girl at a country club. Let us try, just for a minute, to imagine the pitch meeting where some studio executive actually said, ”Hey! Let’s spend millions on THAT idea!” I can only guess he was picturing the potential of endless ”girls catfighting in bathing suits” scenes, something already done masterfully in ”Wild Things.”
Also coming up is ”Loser,” a college-set comedy which has the pedigree that once made us hopeful it might be another ”American Pie.” It’s directed by Amy Heckerling, who did a genius job with ”Clueless” (not to mention ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) and stars Jason Biggs (”American Pie”) and Mena Suvari (”American Beauty”). But rumors trickling out of Hollywood suggest that this may not, in fact, be a slam dunk, and that reshoots were done rather last minute. I’m still holding out hope for ”Loser,” and also for ”Bring It On,” a quirky comedy cheerleader summer camp starring Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku, ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”’s Faith.
But for now, there’s only one clever teen-oriented movie out there, as far as I’m concerned, and that’s ”Scary Movie” As uneven as it is, at least it manages to have fun at its own expense, and spares us the kind of plot that makes us remember why we’re so grateful to have passed out of that awkward age. Adolescence is painful enough — do the movies about that time also have to be so painful?