The star of ''Boys and Girls'' says he's ready to start acting his age -- hopefully in ''Spider-Man''
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Credit: Fitzroy Barrett/Globe

Can’t stand the idea of watching dream boat Freddie Prinze Jr. shyly grin his way through another sappy teen romance? Neither can the 24 year old actor. Prinze says his latest movie, ”Boys and Girls,” is the final installment in his youthful romance trilogy, which includes ’99’s ”prom king dates geek” fantasy ”She’s All That” and this year’s ”Down to You,” which let him graduate from high school heartbreak to the collegiate variety.

”These were three movies that I wanted to make for my generation,” Prinze explains, noting that today’s teens and twentysomethings missed out on John Hughes’ Brat Pack films of the ’80s. ”It was a goal of mine to create a video library of movies that kids could relate to, and now I’m finished.”

Prinze, whose bickering with a college pal (”Meet Joe Black”’s Claire Forlani) blossoms into attraction in ”Boys,” feels that his latest film pokes fun at the tired clichés of the romantic comedy genre instead of feeding into them. After all, it’s the girl, not the guy, who squirms at the prospect of commitment, and when sex does enter the picture, it’s fraught with consequences. ”I think the screenwriters [Andrew Lowery and Andrew Miller] hate romantic comedies. Hence, they wrote one,” says Prinze. ”Even though that sounds backwards and twisted, it works. Romantic comedies are so sickeningly sweet most of the time, and this movie has enough cynicism to balance that out.”

Though Prinze won’t be playing any more lovesick teens, he hasn’t given up his on-screen emotion. His next film, ”Head Over Heels” (due in theaters Valentine’s Day), pairs him with ”Patch Adams” star Monica Potter — and it’s, yes, another romantic comedy. But this time around, Prinze is no doe-eyed softie. In the movie, Potter plays an art restorer whose new boyfriend (Prinze) might be a murderer. ”This is a ‘Rear Window’ kind of dark comedy,” the actor explains. ”And I’m playing 26 or 27 years old, so I’m an adult for the first time.”

A diehard comic book fan, Prinze is also keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll land the Peter Parker web master role in the upcoming ”Spider-Man” movie, which is due to begin filming later this year with Sam Raimi (”A Simple Plan”) directing. But Prinze faces some stiff competition for the webbed red tights. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jude Law have also expressed interest in the role.

Still, there’s one prime part Prinze has definitely beaten out DiCaprio and Law for: The actor is currently dating ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar. ”I’m a ‘wear my heart on my sleeve’ kind of guy, and I think that’s the only way to be,” Prinze says of his enviable personal life. ”Nothing feels better than being loved.” Aw, shucks.

Boys and Girls
  • Movie
  • 103 minutes