Get Over It (2001)
Directed by Tommy O'Haver
Cast: Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Sagemiller, Shane West, Colin Hanks, Martin Short, Sisqo, Mila Kunis, Ed Begley Jr., Swoosie Kurtz, Kylie Bax, Zoe Saldana, Vitamin C, Carmen Electra.
2001 90 minutes
Rated: (for profanity, crude humor, and teen drinking).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, March 10, 2001.
"Get Over It," the new teen film surprisingly directed by Tommy O'Haver (1998's "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss"), has enough offbeat elements to distinguish it from the pack of cliched movies of its ilk that have been released in recent years. The movie is predictable, and isn't particularly original, but right from the opening credits sequence, in which singer Vitamin C, accompanied by the residents of a suburban town and even a marching band, perform a song-and-dance number to "Love Will Keep Us Together" while following the main character as he walks sullenly down the street, it becomes obvious that this isn't going to be just any ordinary high school comedy.
Nice guy Berke Lawrence (Ben Foster), a high school senior, is crushed when his girlfriend of sixteen months, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), dumps him. Knowing her since they were still in diapers, Berke is sure that they are soul mates and deserve to be together. Hurting him even more is that she has begun a relationship with artificial former boy band member Striker (Shane West). When Allison and Striker decide to try out for the school play, a musical version of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night's Dream," Berke desperately auditions, as well, in an attempt to woo her back. Coaching him on acting, dancing, and singing is aspiring songwriter Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), the younger sister of Berke's best friend (Colin Hanks), who also has a part in the production and begins to grow strong feelings for him. In true inevitable fashion, Berke is too involved in getting Allison back to notice that the person right in front of him, Kelly, is his true perfect match.
While "Get Over It" is threatened into become a tiresome retread of 1999's "10 Things I Hate About You" and 2000's "Whatever It Takes," the bright performances and mostly non-stereotypical teenaged characters save the day. Although Kirsten Dunst (2000's "The Virgin Suicides") is perhaps too talented an actress to be wasting her time with material that is so obviously above her, if I could choose any young performer to appear in my own personal teen movie, it would be her. Dunst is not only extremely cute, but has the acting chops to add depth to any part she is given. While her previous excursion into high school territory, 2000's "Bring It On," was a better movie with a more demanding role, Dunst lights up every one of her scenes, and also proves to have a lovely singing voice.
Ben Foster (1999's "Liberty Heights") plays Berke, the main character, and as such, he does well with the part and shows off a great deal of charisma. Newcomer Melissa Sagemiller, as the aloof Allison, is also fine, and what a refreshing change of pace it was to not have her be portrayed as a bitch, but as a relatively likable person. Mila Kunis (TV's "That 70's Show"), as Kelly's friend, Basin, is attractive in a small role, as is Kylie Bax (2000's "Boys and Girls"), as a beautiful, but terribly klutzy classmate.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shane West shows zero of the magnetism he presented in 2000's "Whatever It Takes," although, to be fair, it isn't all his fault. West's Striker is a shallow, distasteful individual with no redeeming qualities. Zoe Saldana, so wonderful in last year's "Center Stage," is wasted as Allison's friend, Maggie, and R&B artist Sisqo, as another friend of Berke's, gives an amateurish performance, to say the least. His appearance proves to be nothing more than a gimmick to draw his fans in, as his character could have been discarded completely without any change to the story at hand.
What really raises "Get Over It" above being just mediocre is Martin Short (1999's "Mumford"). As the tell-it-like-it-is theater director Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates, Short is hysterical in every scene he's in. When he's not saying something funny, his brilliant facial expressions alone are, and it is a genuine treat to watch his comedic talents flow so joyously. This is almost an Oscar-caliber performance, and something that comes as completely unexpected in the film.
While not all of director Tommy O'Haver's stylistic choices work (the occasional leaps into the fantasy world of "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" grow annoying very quickly), his heart is always in the right place, and his ambition is admirable in a genre that is admittedly so worn out. The original songs, written by Marc Shaiman (1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut"), are a lot of fun and also aid in raising the movie to a higher level than it otherwise would have gone. "Get Over It" isn't great, and it isn't deep, but it doesn't aspire to be. It's a lighthearted, frothy entertainment that goes down with ease, and is something that I am pleased I saw.
Special Note: Could someone please tell me when Carmen Electra's name is splashed on all of the ads and posters for this film, when she is onscreen for literally three seconds and has one line of dialogue. She does reappear during the music video over the end credits, but why? And even more mysterious, why did she choose to appear at all when her role is little more than akin to being an extra? Just wondering. On second thought, maybe I should just get over it (sorry, I couldn't resist).
©2001 by Dustin Putman