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The Hot Chick (2002)
Beyond my expectations
I don't consider myself a Rob Schneider fan in general, and when a friend of mine rented "The Hot Chick," I thought it would be a lame "Freaky Friday"-ish attempt at comedy. However, once we popped in the movie, I couldn't stop laughing. Schneider is uncanny in his exaggerated performance of a conceited, self-absorbed teenage girl. He nails the voice and expressions, and every scene (especially those between Schneider and Faris, who plays Jessica's best friend April). The acting, though obviously restricted to a certain level per the genre, is excellent. I especially loved the fact that April's keyring included about 20 keychains - so accurate for a teenage girl. Lots of cute, funny touches in the movie. I definitely (though unexpectedly) recommend it!
Cheap but funny
"Jailbait," though full of bad acting and cheap lines, is fresh and funny because it's so full of taboos. First of all, it's obvious most (if not all) of the actors are Canadian due to their accents, but this doesn't really matter (it just takes away realism if the film's set in the US). Secondly, here we have a 15 year old girl who is sexually aggressive and manipulative. She's portrayed as a vixenous, trashy sex object, battling with an unattractive, whiny virgin over a cute but dumb guy. The underage sex, pregnancy-taken-lightly, and manipulation of the legal system are all "iffy" issues, but they also make for great comedy. The best character in "Jailbait" is the attorney Chuck Clopperman, who embodies every cheesy lawyer cliché in the book. The scenes with him are great (for example, when a "Chuck Clopperman Parking" sign falls down to reveal a handicapped parking sign). I definitely recommend seeing "Jailbait" if you didn't catch one of the 3,000 viewings on MTV when it came out.
Varsity Blues (1999)
It's one of those "tell me it's not my fault and make me feel better" kinda movies -- Varsity Blues is completely predictable and pathetic. It's geared almost entirely toward teenage males. It depicts guys as tough, brave, strong, and legitimately rebellious. Meanwhile, the 2 prominent female characters are a whiny girlfriend and a troubled, slutty blonde sexpot in a whipped cream bikini. It's got some funny moments, but it mostly seems like a really bad ripoff of All the Right Moves. Of course, Tom Cruise has got it all over James Van Der Beek. The only quality acting in the movie was from Amy Smart. If you have to watch it, try to focus more on Paul Walker and less on the movie itself. It helps the time go by.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Excellent, despite some cheesy moments
This is an excellent epic -- it brought to light many of the horrific details of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, details not covered in a history book trying to cram in facts. I sat in the theater watching 18 and 19 year old sailors die, trapped inside the Arizona or another ship, and I was terrified. It actually hit home with me -- these guys were my age. That could be my friend or my cousin. Surely there was some unnecessary cheesiness in "Pearl Harbor." The whole love story was a bit overdone. Also, I don't know if the counterattack scene was really necessary in a film called "Pearl Harbor." Good stuff though. Extra points for having Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett as the stars.
Hope Floats (1998)
Charming and Touching
As a Sandra Bullock fan, I especially like this movie. Harry Connick, Jr. is well-suited as the humble and honest Justin, and Sandra is great as usual. The elements of family turbulence, Birdee's hesitation to begin again with Justin, and the relationship between mother and daughter (both sets) are realistic, and they help the movie to avoid clichés and sappiness. A definite must-see.
Two If by Sea (1996)
A cute, funny, guilty pleasure type of movie
The story is nothing new, the acting ain't that great, but "Two if by Sea" has its moments. It's an entertaining little movie, and Sandra Bullock's mixture of charm, sarcasm, and innocence play out well. The movie knows it's not too sophisticated or shrewd (even the cop says of his own investigation, "this is too easy") and it's a great film to watch on an afternoon or just to be entertained. If you're a Sandra fan, you'll like it no matter what. :)
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
Short and Sweet
Drew Barrymore and Steve Zahn deliver incredibly realistic performances in this film, creating three-dimensional characters. The characters aren't just "good" or "bad" but are multi-faceted, so that the audience reacts to them much like they are real people. At times, this film is slow-moving, but the good makes up for the bad. All the supporting actors, including Brittany Murphy and James Woods, give really good performances as well, blending humanity and humor.