Old Stuff

Never Been Kissed (1999)

Directed by Raja Gosnell

I have to admit the premise of "Never Been Kissed" was what lured me to the theater. Having been tortured in high school, myself, a fairy tale about returning in disguise and fitting in appealed to me.

The film is about a young copy editor (Drew Barrymore), at the Chicago Sun-Times, who is assigned her first story -- going undercover at a high school to report on "today's" teenagers. As she tries to come up with a story, she also tries to fit in and in the process learns a bit about herself and falls in love. I liked the film. It was cute. I wish the director, Raja Gosnell, had guided the actors into a more naturalistic style (though now that I've found out he directed "Home Alone 3," I understand the problem). When you have a farce it's much more effective if the actors play it straight. Instead, some actors made cartoon faces that had me waiting for Bugs Bunny sound effects. Drew Barrymore (Josie Geller) does something weird with her mouth that looks totally unnatural -- I supposed it was to illustrate how uptight she was, but it was a bit distracting. However, I liked her performance as a whole, given the style of the movie.

Never Been Kissed

I didn't quite understand what function Molly Shannon (Anita) had in the film. She was supposed to be Josie's best friend at the newspaper, but she served more as one long unfunny sex joke that I thought was superfluous. She had no visible job. The only thing revealed about the character was that she liked to have sex and seduce the male employees. She dressed from the Hookers-R-Us catalogue, inappropriate for someone working as a writer or editor in a major newspaper, and she must've had some relatively decent position since she was in on editorial meetings.

David Arquette was great as Josie's brother. He didn't fall victim to mugging for the camera. Michael Vartan (teacher Sam Coulson) was quite good and had lovely chemistry with Drew.

Never Been Kissed

I have to say, several of the scenes gave me chills. In one flashback Josie reads a poem in front of her whole class that she wrote for the boy she had a crush on. I almost did the same thing when I was 17. What a nightmare!

The film was enjoyable, relatively funny, and sweet. I think $8.50 is a better price for it than $9.50, but if you need a little dose of humor and romance go for it! -- Rating: $8.50

Kathy Gerhardt -- Copyright 1999

Old Stuff