Kiss Me, Julia!
by Mike Liss
Four years after "Clueless" reinvented the teen flick by actually
being funny, smart, sexy, clever, and cool all at once, there's finally
a movie that can make a rightful claim as heir. As a 26 year-old guy, I
can't say the current hot streak of teen flicks has had me asking my mom
to drive me to the mall cineplex, but there was something about the truly
entertaining 10 Things I Hate
About You that had me hanging with the Clearasil set again, making
me so glad not to be back in high school, but reminding me why I still get
high school crushes nearly every day.
As a concept, The Taming of the Shrew in homeroom makes a lot more sense
than Dangerous Liasons with Buffy does; love is still the noblest battle,
wit the sharpest weapon, and a date by any other name is just a date. And
since nothing is more melodramatic than high school, you have a perfect
So, like, here's the deal: New sensitive-boy-in-town Cameron likes Bianca,
who thinks she likes vain model Joey, but who can't date until her older
sister Katarina goes on a date. So Cameron and his pal Michael hatch a plan
to use Joey to buy off some guy to date Kat, hoping in the meantime Bianca
will realize it's Cameron whom she really likes. Problem is, nobody's crazy
enough to date Kat, a shrew for the `90s who speaks her mind, digs her tunes,
and wouldn't mind everyone else just bugging off. So they enlist the dark,
mysterious Patrick, who is of course Kat's perfect match, and the battle
between the two begins.
Julia Stiles as Kat (who, curiously enough, will be seen soon as the
Desdemona character in the Othello-in-high school flick O) is ten reasons
to see this movie alone. It's a fine line between "heinous bitch"
and misunderstood, and Kat couldn't care less. But Stiles' charm, wit, and
timing never allow Kat to go mopey; she's far too sweetly spirited (and
smart) for that. Far before Patrick melts her with a marching band/karaoke
rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," a scene far funnier
and more charming than it should be, Kat is already irresistible. Dating
advice from Shakespeare to high school girls: There ain't no better way
to make a guy like you than saying no the first time.
But beyond succeeding in being funny and smart at the same time, the
movie wins because it pulls off the one thing even trickier: being sweet
and sincere. Joseph Gordon Levitt's Cameron is so dopey-eyed over Bianca
that it's infectious; but the real payoff is a climactic sonnet reading
(how many times have I written those words?) that goes for broke
emotionally in a far more honest, sincere way than you'll see in most teen
flicks, and pulls it off. No matter how hip and now you dress the kids,
love will always be old fashioned.
Mike Liss, who is editing BG's
forthcoming book, hopes BG enjoyed editing him for a change.
Back to Main To Do Page
| Next Date