WFTB Score: 7/20
The plot: Young Berke Landers is distraught when Allison, his girlfriend of sixteen months, dumps him for a handsome former boy-band member. He is determined to win her back but when cast alongside her in the school play finds himself torn between Allison and his friend’s sister Kelly.
Depending on the timing of your visit to WFTB, you may well arrive at this review before I have put up reviews of Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane or The Godfather. All I can offer by way of excuse is that Tommy O’Haver’s work was on TV on a quiet night one Friday and I wrote this before I expunged all memories of the film from my brain.
I would guess that I am not the target audience for Get Over It, a teen comedy dealing with Berke Landers’ (Ben Foster) reaction to being dumped by Allison (Melissa Sagemiller); I would also guess, however, that I am not exactly the target audience for Ten Things I Hate About You and I can still see that the earlier film was far superior to this one. I bring Ten Things up specifically as it uses a very similar device to Get Over It, namely using a Shakespeare play as both part of the story and the basis for the plot.
Here, the play plundered is A Midsummer Nights’ Dream, complete with added songs written by the show’s picky, abusive teacher, Dr Desmond Forrest Oates (Martin Short). Despite clashing with basketball, Berke sees the play as a way of winning Allison back, even though her new beau ‘Striker’ (Shane West, sporting a ghastly, mangled approximation of an English accent) is guaranteed a lead role. He is guided in his quest by Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), a talented songwriter and sister of Berke’s best friend Felix. When Striker reveals his true colours at a party and is caught kissing another girl, Allison asks Berke to give the relationship another go. However, Berke has fallen in love with Kelly and changes the play so that his character, Lysander, stays with Kelly’s Helena.
It’s a cute little story, but doesn’t match up to the comedies it tries to emulate, most obviously Ten Things and American Pie. The problem is that the script is either written by an adolescent or aimed solely with adolescents in mind, so whilst it is clearly obsessed with sex – there’s a humping dog, Berke’s parents present a sex-education show – it is very coy about the act itself, instead making a big play of Berke and Kelly kissing. Are we to assume Berke and Allison never got it on?
Overexcitement about women abounds. Berke goes out on a date with a clumsy student (Kylie Dax, very nice but clearly older than the youngsters), firstly showing her running along the beach in a bikini. She causes chaos in the restaurant, leading to another woman having her top ripped off in a scene familiar to anyone who has watched Class, and causing a boy to shout the immortal words: ‘Tits, wow!’ Say what you like about Citizen Kane, it doesn’t have a line to match that. Elsewhere, a trip to a pretty tame strip club is just an excuse to wheel out Carmen Electra for another undistinguished cameo.
Get Over It doesn’t handle sex or gross-out humour as well as American Pie, Shakespeare as well as Ten Things I Hate About You, or dream sequence/inner thoughts as well as The Simpsons; and therein lies its mediocrity. You can’t blame the cast: Foster’s Burke is sympathetic if inconsistent, half of the time appearing as a Jason Biggs-type loser, the other half a thoughtful smooth-talker around Kelly and a hard man in confrontation with Striker. The other youngsters are fine too, forgiving West’s accent; Dunst and Sagemiller are both appealing and singer Sisqo is passable as another of Berke’s friends. Amongst the adults, Martin Short isn’t half as funny as he thinks he is as the frustrated director; Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr are amusing as Berke’s parents, but even their liberal attitude to Berke’s adolescent indiscretions is a one-note joke.
For twelve- to sixteen-year olds, or as light Friday night material, Get Over It unchallengingly passes the time. But don’t expect to see anything that hasn’t been done before, and better, or you’ll be vaguely disappointed. Now, what to review next: Seven Samurai or Deuce Bigelow?