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Drive Me Crazy

Starring Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier
Susan May Pratt, Mark Webber, Kris Park
Screenplay by Rob Thomas
Based on the novel "How I Created My Perfect Prom Date" by Todd Strasser
Directed by John Schultz
website: www.foxmovies.com/drivemecrazy

IN SHORT: A teen dateflick, and not a bad bit of story either. [Rated [PG-13]]

Anybody want to talk Generation Gap? Cranky walked in to the sneak of Drive Me Crazy, thinking it's title was copped from a Fine Young Cannibals song back around '86 but, no, it turns out it's from a Britney Spears song. Oh God, I feel so old. Even worse when it's pointed out that one of the parental units in this flick graduated from High School the year before I did. If I had followed my breeder instincts, I could lug my teenkids to the screening (and they, of course, would want me hiding in the back so they could disavow all knowledge of my actions). I didn't, so I'm stuck with my fingers in the popcorn while the kidlets cackle all around me.

And cackle they did. Other aged reviewers were muttering "two weeks and it's on video" which may be true, but the story is solid and better written than a lot of the stuff we sit through, and there are enough demographically targeted jokes (ie. things I didn't get) that Drive Me Crazy will probably find its proper audience.

Rather than centering around the prom, and all its associated angst and anxiety, the big party for the students of Timothy Zonin High is the school's Centennial Celebration. Pretty and popular and on the Organizing Committee is perky Nicole Maris (Melissa Joan Hart) who, for all her good points, is still waiting for basketball star Brad (Gabriel Carpenter) to ask her out. Next door neighbor Chase Hammond (Adrian Grenier), formerly Nicole's pal and now just the guy next door, prefers to hang out with the intellectual crowd at the local college coffee bar. A spat with lust of his life Dulcie (Ali Larter) which coincidentally hits about the time that Brad asks a rival school's cheerleader to the Ball, pairs our kidlets in a scheme to win back the perceived loves of their lives.

Nicole transforms Chase from a Geek to a GapKid, to the horror of his net-surfin', eGamer friends. She, in turn, learns a true lesson about the real nature of love. Both of them, to their horror, discover that parental units have love lives too (in this case played out by Faye Grant and Stephen Collins as Nicole's divorced parents and William Converse-Roberts as Chase's widowed dad). There's a full span of kidlet types filling in the gaps, and all the acting is professional and to the point. The target is kids. The soundtrack is for kids and the kids around me munched their popcorn and candy and went home happy. Game over.

Parents out there who e-mail me about sex and language in these teenflicks need not worry. There's no nudity and the language isn't any worse than it was when we were in high school two decades back. <sigh>

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Drive Me Crazy, he would have paid...

$5.00

It's a dateflick for the teens. Painless but way out of the market for us old fogeys.

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