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Get Over It  

Cast: Kirsten Dunst...............Kelly
Ben Foster..................Berke
Melissa Sagemiller..........Allison
Shane West..................Striker

Directed by: Tommy O'Haver Written by: R. Lee Fleming Jr.

In the vast, prom-like conglomeration of teenage romantic comedies, "Get Over It" embodies a wallflower-type. While it may be good-hearted at the core, there's nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd. It's not awful, and does contain a couple good performances wrapped in genuine sweetness. Yet despite the plusses, the film never seems to come alive.
Get Over It
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Berke (Ben Foster) and Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) seemed to be the perfect high school couple. That is until Allison, after a year and a half, announced to Berke her intention of ending the relationship, arguing that all things eventually run their course. Naturally, this is a bit much for the emotional Berke to accept. The pain of being dumped soon becomes amplified when his ex-love catches the eye of Striker (Shane West), a typically obnoxious high school stud. Berke will stop at nothing to win back the love of his ex, even going so far as auditioning for the school play - a twisted take on William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" helmed by the faculty's drama guru, a pretentious twit named Dr. Forrest-Oates (Martin Short). Not possessing an ounce of theatrical talent, he enlists the help of his best friend's sister, Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), a natural on stage who holds an attraction toward Berke. Slowly, (very slowly, actually) he comes to the realization that - what d'ya know - he is attracted to her as well.

Despite the incorporation of numerous sex-related jokes (and even a shot of nudity), the film seems surprisingly tame. Director Tommy O'Haver handles the story's sweetness well, but the attempts at humor generally fall flat; or more specifically, never come to life. Too much of the would-be humor relies on the idea of the joke rather than the joke itself ... the idea of getting caught at a strip club, the idea of one's parents hosting a Dr. Ruth-like Q & A show, the idea of a sex-obsessed dog. All the ideas have potential, but the filmmakers needed to venture a little further down the comedy pike.

When I was a kid, the big "break-up" comedy in theatres was "Better Off Dead" with John Cusack seeking ways to put himself out of the misery of losing his first love. While not the epitome of brilliant filmmmaking, it was nonetheless warped, twisted, and most importantly ... memorable. Bits like a psychotic paperboy in hot pursuit of two dollars, a foreigner whose only knowledge of the english language deriving from Howard Cosell's voice on "Wide World of Sports," and a Frankenstein spoof with a dancing hamburger may have been undeniably stupid, but they still linger in the most demented regions of my mind. (Even the line "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky" still manages to make me chuckle.)

Alas, no memories of the sort lasted beyond the trek to my car following the screening of "Get Over It." Yeah okay, it's sweet. But it could have amounted to something had it ventured off the cinematic sideline.

Copyright 2001 Michael Brendan McLarney

Critically Ill

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