Something that always bugs me about movies like this: What WORLD do these teens live in? The high school is a marble palace, everyone drives wonderful new (OR vintage) cars, NO student has a job, and their prom always looks like the Royal Wedding. EVERY girl is gorgeous, and every guy is chiseled, even the nerds, once you brush their hair for them. These depictions of adolescence are the greatest form of revisionist history ever, written by guys who never got laid in high school because they were too busy writing.
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Drive Me Crazy is almost an exact remake of Can't Buy Me Love, the mid-80's pseudo-classic with Patrick Dempsey. But then again, this movie is also nearly identical to any one of a thousand high school movies. The key ingredient here is not originality, but who looks pretty and making sure that every character gets a girl at the end.
All the standard requirements for a high-school comedy are present and accounted for: The popular girl, the 'uncool' boy, the 'nerdy' friends, the bitchy girls, the abusive jocks, the venomous social outcasts, the meaningless parents, the obtuse school staff, and the BIG prom at the end, in which all the ugly truths about popularity and honor always prevail. The bottom line is that if you want to buy a used car, at least get one with a nice coat of paint. Drive Me Crazy has a pretty respectable coat of paint.
Melissa Joan Hart is quirky and cute and Nicole, who bucks all Hollywood trends by being both popular and sweet. She lives next door to Chase (Adrien Griener) and they used to be friends, before the unbearable angst of junior high tore them apart. Chase loves his (soon to be ex-) girlfriend Lacey, Nicole loves jock Brad.
The two pair up for a 'mutually exclusive arrangement' to get the mates they lust after. If you don't know where this is headed, you really need to see more movies. There are several appealing subplots, such as those involving Chase's 'computer-oriented' buddies and a 'cyber-girlfriend'. Another nice touch was having the most popular girl in school profess to Chase that she used to be really fat and unloved, yet she still wonders which life is more fulfilling, the In Crowd or Out. (It was just a sneaky bit of intelligence, and it nearly shocked me.)
A few gags will catch you by surprise, and the performances will win over a lot of people. MJ Hart performs respectably, letting loose and having some fun playing an obviously overused character. Greiner stands out the most, not showing too much cockiness when he's on top nor too much misery when he's just the 'kid next door'. The supporting cast steals much of the show, and it's always nice to see people under 20 playing teenagers.
Although the icing is really nice, Drive Me Crazy is still the same old cake, and while it does offer some entertaining scenes, there is just not enough there for the movie to stand on it's own. There's only so many times the identical story can be told after all. It's easily recommended to high school girls, or fans of the rapidly souring genre, but it's nothing to holler about either.
As much as I tried to hate this movie, it actually sorta won me over a bit. Granted, this is also coming from a guy who recommends She's All That, but usually my bullsh*t tolerance is pretty low. While you've seen absolutely all of this before, you'll enjoy this one. (And IF you've seen this story elsewhere, then you obviously like these movies ANYWAY!)
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