Pros: Entertaining black comedy
Cons: Not for everyone. Silly at times. Subject will upset some.
Black comedies can be very entertaining when they are done well. Unfortunately, several of them have failed for one reason or another. Sugar & Spice had some problems but was very entertaining overall.
The members of the A squad cheerleading team were popular and best friends who did everything together. Lisa was very bitter that she wasn't on the squad. Diane, the head cheerleader, started to date Jack, the new star player of the football team. It wasn't long before Diane ended up pregnant. Jack was standing by her and they decided to get married. They moved into their own apartment after their parents basically disowned them. Jack was working two jobs and had no idea how bad their financial situation really was even though he knew they were turned down for a loan. Cleo, Kansas, Hannah, and Lucy - the other A squad cheerleaders - were trying to be supportive of Diane.
Diane was very worried about their financial situation since they were still struggling after she got a job. She and the other cheerleaders got the idea to rob a bank after watching a movie. Lucy had to be persuaded to go along with the idea. Even Diane had second thoughts until she found out she was having twins. The girls started planning in earnest while Diane kept everything from Jack.
I thought that the main idea for the plot of Sugar & Spice was fairly original. There have been several movies made that dealt with bank robberies. The girls even watched different heist movies to prepare for their own robbery. What made the movie original was the fact that cheerleaders were the ones robbing the bank. The motivation for the robbery was also a bit different. There were some aspects of the movie that weren’t as original and even a bit predictable. I still enjoyed the movie despite the predictable elements. I did notice that the main characters shared their names with the title of a John Mellencamp song from the 1980's and I did wonder if the writer decided on those names because of the song.
I do consider Sugar & Spice to be a black comedy because of the subject matter. Teenage cheerleaders robbing a bank because the pregnant head cheerleader is broke isn’t exactly normal for a comedy. That was just twisted enough to make me consider the movie to be a black comedy. The family situation of Kansas and her grumpy attitude in general also helped to make the movie more of a black comedy. Several other things that happened were just twisted enough that they might bother some viewers. This isn’t a movie for everyone because of that. The fact that the main character gets pregnant while in high school will probably concern parents as well. I do think the movie was intended to be a satire of some of the comedies that have revolved around teenagers. Several things that happened did make me laugh and I felt that there was a decent amount of humor in the movie.
Most of Sugar & Spice focused in on the planning of the robbery. Time was taken at the beginning to introduce the characters, show how Jack and Diane met, and set up the situation. After Jack and Diane got married, it wasn’t long before the plan to rob a bank was hatched. Their planning, which was somewhat unconventional, was shared. It really was humorous that they thought they could figure out how to successfully rob a bank by watching a bunch of movies. There was a little bit of action that was connected to the robbery. Lisa provided a voice over throughout the movie, explaining what was going on.
It didn’t seem like Jack and Diane had known each other very long before they started having sex. It was clear how long after their first meeting that Jack actually asked her out but I think they started having sex right after that first date. They were shown making out around the school and it was made clear that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. There weren’t any actual sex scenes in the movie but there were a few sexual situations and discussions. It wasn’t long before Diane was pregnant and the two got married even though they were still in high school. This movie wasn’t exactly setting a good example or sending a positive message, which might bother some viewers. The movie was rated PG-13 because of some language and sex related elements.
The five members of the A squad were the main characters in Sugar & Spice. The girls were very good, close friends despite being very different. Kansas was grumpy and even a bit violent most of the time. The part was a bit different from others I’ve seen Mena Suvari play. Hannah had been very sheltered by her parents and was still only allowed to watch G rated movies. She was very innocent and a bit of a goody goody, but she was a likable character. Rachel Blanchard handled the part well. She played Cher in the television version of Clueless. I have also seen her in a small part in Without a Paddle. Cleo and Lucy didn’t seem to be as developed as the other girls. Cleo was obsessed with Conan O’Brien and Lucy was planning to go to Harvard and worried the plan would mess that up for her.
Diane was the head cheerleader and very popular. She said some things that made her seem like a ditz at times, but she was well aware of the bad financial situation they were in. She was slightly smarter than she appeared. Marley Shelton was good in the part and made Diane a believable and likable character. Jack was the star of the football team and just as popular as Diane even though he just transferred to the school. He was very attractive, so all the girls were drooling over him. Jack wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box, so it wasn’t that hard for Diane to keep certain things from him. James Marsden was good in the part. He has gone on to become known for his part in the X-Men movies. In 2007 he was in two very popular movies, Hairspray and Enchanted.
Lisa was very bitter and resented the fact that she wasn’t on the A squad like she felt she should be. She had never been that popular and she had done things not to long before the start of the movie to get in better shape to try to get on the A squad. She wasn’t in as much of the movie but was still important because she served as a narrator. Marla Sokoloff was fine in the part. Fern was an unpopular girl who became connected with the A squad during the planning. Sean Young turned up briefly in a few scenes as Kansas’s mother who was in prison.
Rachel Blanchard - Hannah
Melissa George - Cleo
Alexandra Holden - Fern
James Marsden - Jack
Sara Marsh - Lucy
Marley Shelton - Diane
Marla Sokoloff - Lisa
Mena Suvari - Kansas
Sean Young - Mrs. Hill
Francine McDougall - Director
I first saw Sugar & Spice by renting the DVD. That was several years ago, so I can’t remember what sort of extras were included. Since then, I have watched the movie several times again when I’ve found it on television, usually on TBS or TNT. The movie is edited when it turns up on those television stations.
Sugar & Spice is a somewhat twisted movie that still managed to be entertaining. I have seen the movie several times and still enjoy it. This isn’t a movie for everyone because of the twisted nature of the plot.
I would have given this movie three and a half stars if I had that option. Since I don’t, I decided to round up to four stars.
James Marsden Movies
Enchanted ~ Hairspray ~ Superman Returns ~ X-Men ~ X2: X-Men United ~ X-Men: The Last Stand ~