[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Never Been Kissed

Drew Barrymore carries the day as a romantic geek

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

April 10, 1999 -- "Never Been Kissed" is a good romantic comedy, thanks mainly to Drew Barrymore's fabulous performance as a clumsy reporter trying to fit in as an undercover high school student.

Barrymore plays Josie Geller a copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times who wants to be a writer. She gets her chance when the whim of a mad managing editor (played by director-actor Garry Marshall) gives her an undercover assignment as a high school student. Going to school again causes her to relive the horror of her high school years as she is laterally stamped a loser again.

The flashback scenes to Geller's high school days are hilarious. She is made to look even shorter and chunkier than she is and the braces and bad hair complete the effect. In one such flashback scene she relives the horror of prom night when a classmate treats her to unspeakable cruelties.

She is again treated cruelly by most of her classmates upon her return to high school. Again, she is unable to fit in, except the the brainy geeks who band together for protection. At first, she is befriended by the brainy Aldys (Leelee Sobieski of "Deep Impact" and "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries."

Her attempts to fit in with the high school elite are rebuffed until her brother, Rob Geller, (David Arquette of "Scream") comes to her rescue. Just as he did in high school, he is able to fit in and become one of the coolest kids in school. He is able to convince the other elite students in school that his sister is also worthy of admission to the in crowd.

Josie Geller's intelligence, education and charm, meanwhile, have not been lost on one of her teachers, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan of "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar"). Their mutual attraction is noticed by Geller's editor, Gus, (John C. Reilly of "The Thin Red Line") and he wants her to develop their attraction into a romance and a story. If she does, it could ruin Coulson's career as a teacher.

The resolution of Geller's dilemma is the centerpiece of the film. While the film isn't particularly convincing as a depiction of journalists, teachers, or students, it is entertaining in a very lighthearted way. Barrymore goes through many transformations in the film in a real acting tour-de-force. Arquette, Sobieski, Vartan and Jeremy Jordan (a singer and actor, who appeared in "Leaving Las Vegas" and has a gold record, "Try My Love") who plays Guy Perkins, the coolest guy in school, provide good supporting performances. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)