Not even Drew Barrymore's million-dollar smile can save this humiliating comedy about a 25-year old journalist who does what the rest of us only dream about in nightmares: Relives the hell of high school. Josie (Barrymore) is an awkward copy editor at
a big Chicago newspaper who, when not correcting her co-workers' grammar, fantasizes about two things: investigative journalism and getting kissed -- really kissed -- by someone who loves her. She's given a shot at the first -- which, inevitably, leads to fulfillment of the second -- when
she's sent undercover at a local high school in order to find out what today's crazy kids are really up to (journalist-turned-filmmaker Cameron Crowe once did the very same thing; which led to his book and, later, the movie, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.) The problem: Josie didn't fit in the
first time around -- flashbacks show us greasy-haired "Grossy Josie" getting the full-on Carrie White treatment -- and learns the hard way that teenagers don't change much. A true glutton for punishment, Josie falls for the popular jerk who won't give her the time of day (Jeremy Jordan), catches
the eye of a handsome English teacher with a taste for under-aged girls (Michael Vartan), and, with a lot of help from her popular brother (David Arquette), finally manages to infiltrate the in-crowd. It's hard to believe the film really intends to endorse the shallow, in-crowd values that make
Josie so miserable. But it's anyone's guess what this earnestly acted but poorly plotted film does mean to say. Watching the miserable Josie take her licks is so painful that it's a genuine relief when she's made over into a happy, bubble-headed prom queen, and she only learns self-respect after
winning the approval of a bunch of cruel, vapid teens. How depressing.
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