Not Another Teen Movie

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Not Another Teen Movie

Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime

The Pitch: High school comedies and romances are spoofed, skewered and served up stupidly in this raunchy, hilarious parody that takes all the clichés of teen movies from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and somehow makes them even more ridiculous. Watch as the likes of The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait, Varsity Blues, Cruel Intentions, She’s All That, American Pie, Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed, and even American Beauty are sent up at the aptly named John Hughes High School.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: A lot of spoof movies throughout the 2000s were absolutely dreadful. They either came from the Wayans brothers (who at least succeeded with the first Scary Movie) or the infinitely worse directing duo of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who delivered such painfully unfunny experiences as Date Movie, Epic Movie, The Starving Games, Meet The Spartans and Vampires Suck. Thankfully, Not Another Teen Movie arrived just before that abysmal boom, and even though it’s littered with some cheap gross-out gags and toilet humor, it’s mostly a satisfying, raunchy parody in the spirit of movies like Airplane!, The Naked Gun or Young Frankenstein where the genre itself was spoofed with great love rather than merely being an excuse to make lazy pop culture references that would be dated within the a few years.

The core of Not Another Teen Movie takes aim at She’s All That as the story mostly follows football jock Jake Wyler as he makes a bet with his douchebag friends to turn the quirky paint-covered, oversalls-clad, glasses-wearing girl Janey into prom queen. Meanwhile, there’s also a trio of horny teens trying everything they can to get laid at all costs, a friend-zoned hipster who desperately wants to date Janey, Jake’s testy cheerleader ex-girlfriend and her cheerleading squad, and of course, that one token black guy thrown in with a bunch of white kids.

Much like the aforementioned brilliant spoofs, one of the things that makes Not Another Teen Movie funny are the additional jokes in the background of scenes. Keep your eyes peeled for gags like Preston’s Party being part of the school’s schedule on their outdoor marquee, a sign for the “Get Baked Sale” happening on school grounds, or the school cafeteria being named the Anthony Michael Dining Hall.

But what really makes the movie work best is the presence of a solid comedic cast, the most surprising of which being Chris Evans as the smarmy but dreamy jock Jake Wyler. If you’ve only known Chris Evans’ work since he became Human Torch in Fantastic Four or Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re in for quite the surprise when you see how much Evans hams it up, especially when he spoofs a particularly erotic scene from Varsity Blues involving a conveniently placed banana split.

Other recognizable names include Jamie Pressley (My Name Is Earl), Mia Kirshner (Star Trek: Discovery), Sam Huntington (Fanboys), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles), Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls), and the late Ron Lester parodying himself from Varsity Blues. Plus, you’ll want to keep an eye out for brief appearances by Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers), as well as cheeky cameos by real teen movie stars Sean Patrick Thomas (Save the Last Dance), Melissa Joan Hart (Drive Me Crazy), Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles) and Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club). Plus, National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise regular Randy Quaid steals some scenes as Janey’s perpetually drunk father in a role that hits a little too close to the real Randy Quaid we know today.

Not Another Teen Movie deserves to be recognized outside of the spoof drivel that dominated the genre throughout the 2000s. It stands out in that decade with the likes of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Team America: World Police, and the Austin Powers franchise as the right way to spoof an entire genre of popular movies with easily recognizable tropes without always going for the easy laugh. Enjoy some big laughs courtesy of playful jabs at some of your favorite high school nostalgia trips.

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