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Reel Shot in the Dark: 'To make an impression, you have to go to extremes'

Anyone that grew up in the '90s should be familiar with this film, even if they haven't seen it. Although, I really can't fathom why anyone would avoid this classic romantic comedy. It indulges every girl's dream of changing a boy to meet her romantic and social standards. The reason I chose this movie wasn't because it was awful or no one has ever heard of it, but because I wanted to bring it back. I recently bought it for my roommate because we had been discussing how long it had been since we had seen the film and I found it on sale, of course. Unlike my last pick, this one is never played on TV, so it was definitely worth the money. So enjoy this blast from the '90s and then go listen to some Britney Spears while dancing like a maniac.

The rundown

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"Drive Me Crazy" (1999) stars the teenage witch herself, Melissa Joan Hart, with the incredibly attractive Adrian Grenier as the male lead. Nicole Maris (Hart) is your typical all-American high school girl in charge of organizing the school's centennial extravaganza. She finds herself dateless to her own event and, while drunk one night, takes matters into her own hands. Cue Chase Hammond (Grenier), who is a burn out with a cause and a crazy girlfriend, Dulcie (Ali Larter), who finds himself single and looking to win his girl back. Nicole and Chase are neighbors that used to play together until they became teenagers. Once puberty hit, the two went their separate ways and didn't even consider speaking again, until Nicole decides to ask Chase to the dance. This leads to the couple going shopping to improve Chase's look, driving down the strip, hanging out with all the popular kids, and everything else that is required to boost the popularity of a once-ignored trouble maker. Chase leaves his 'dorky' friends behind (Kris Park and Mark Webber) while he moves up the ladder of popularity and becomes friends with all the jocks and cheerleaders. Alicia DeGrasario (Susan May Pratt) is the mean best friend, and boy does she do a good job at it. She trashes everyone behind their backs, including Nicole, her supposed best friend. Brad Seldon (Gabriel Carepenter) is the pretty boy jock/basketball star that Nicole wishes would ask her to the centennial dance, but he falls in love with a cheerleader from another school.

Chase and Nicole agree on an easy out clause but end up realizing that sometimes your life doesn't go as planned. The teens enjoy their charade quite a bit more than anticipated and they fall for each other. There is a slight twist in the plot that makes this film differ from all others with this same plot, but you won't know it until the last 3 minutes of the movie, and it definitely leaves you with some questions.

How does it rate?

With a sickeningly predictable plot and the same outcome as every other romantic comedy ever, how can one enjoy this film as much as I claim to have? Well, for one, it's Melissa Joan Hart, so how can you not enjoy it? Even when she starred in a movie with Mario Lopez and the worst plot ever, I watched it. Hart nails the role of popular teen girl who doesn't succumb to peer pressure and likes to have her own thoughts about things. And Grenier is not only wonderful to look at, but he brings a new outlook to the seemingly overused character. I think Brad is the worst part about this film, because his role is such a tired and boring one. Every movie always has to have that pretty boy everyone dreams about, but no 'normal' girl actually gets. This character helps people relate the movie to their lives, because in high school, most girls wanted that hot athlete but he was always dating someone from another school or the head cheerleader. So, even though the Brad is a lame character, he is necessary to the development of the plot.

Something I did not know when I started this review is the movie is actually based on a book called "How I Created My Perfect Prom Date," by Todd Strasser. The movie follows the plot pretty closely and has all the same characters, school and everything else, it seems. Strasser has a couple other books that are set at the same school, so maybe one day Hollywood will run out of ideas and make a couple more of them into films. Of course, I am sure that has already been thought of because directors try to get 'new' ideas from everywhere. So, after finding out this movie was based on a book, I am curious to thoroughly read it, instead of just flipping through the pages that Amazon will let me read without buying it. I might have to check out the library and see if they have it.

And now: Back to rating this movie.

I have told you about the origin of this film, the characters, the plot and why you should watch it. I only have one more thing left to tell you about the movie, and then I will let you decide if you should see it for yourself.

Lastly, this movie does not leave you angry about the end and it doesn't have any of the absolutely ridiculous relationships, like ones between teachers and students, that you see in today's teen shows. This is your typical '90s teen flick with mean girls, jocks, teen drinking and nerds being picked on. But it is nothing like the stuff you find on TV these days. No one is pregnant, there isn't heavy drug use or terrible language and no one is trying to get with their teachers. I wish movies today were a little more like this one. You may figure it out in the first 10 minutes, but if you ignore that, and just enjoy the laughs, it's definitely one of the more quality films for teens.

4 out of 5 stars

Most memorable parts

Quote: "Girl gets two-faced boy in back seat. Violence anticipated."

Scene: The end of the movie when Chase makes his appearance at the end and everything plays out like it's supposed to.

Character: Alicia DeGrasario may be your typical rotten, back-stabbing teen girl, but she is so good at it. So Alicia wins the title of most memorable character, because you remember her nastiness long after the movie is over.

Song: Drive me Crazy, by Britney Spears, of course. The music video features appearances by Hart and Grenier, which makes it awesome, too.

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