Just as the horde of tongue-in-cheek teen slasher movies cashing in on the success of Scream paved the way for the return of the teen sex comedy, the success of the Wayans brothers' abysmal slasher spoof Scary Movie rendered a similar parody of teen sex comedies inevitable. Populated almost entirely by unknowns vaguely resembling assorted teen dreams and Tiger Beat cover hunks, Not Another Teen Movie stars Chyler Leigh as the archetypal gawky misfit who is magically transformed into a ravishing beauty the moment she lets down her hair and takes off her glasses. Playing Freddie Prinze Jr. to Leigh's touring-company Rachael Leigh Cook, Chris Evans co-stars as a popular jock who wagers, Pygmalion-style, that he can transform Leigh from an awkward wallflower into an extroverted prom queen. Sharing Scary Movie's dedication to quantity above quality, NATM cobbles together the remainder of its plot and characters from American Pie, American Beauty, Cruel Intentions, Bring It On, and seemingly every other teen movie its five screenwriters stumbled across. MTV veteran Joel Gallen directs with a heavy hand, underlining each pop-culture reference and clumsy homage with auditory and visual cues, lest even a single audience member miss a crucial nod to Jawbreaker or Pretty In Pink. To its credit, Teen Movie is sweeter than Scary Movie, even though it's shot through with the same scatology and pop-culture-obsessed tastelessness that's been the default mode for lowbrow comedies since There's Something About Mary. Derivative to its core, Not Another Teen Movie aspires desperately to do for teenybopper romantic comedies what Scary Movie did for the postmodern teen slasher genre. It does just that, using an already rapidly declining trend as fodder for a mercenary, unfunny exercise in adolescent shock value.
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