February 2000:

Every month a new video pick is reviewed.

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This month's review by YMS Intern: Lisa Benecke.




Never Been Kissed (1999)
Directed by Raja Gosnell
cast :

Drew Barrymore ... Josie Geller
Michael Vartan ... Sam Coulson
Molly Shannon .... Anita
David Arquette ... Rob Geller
Leelee Sobieski ... Aldys
Jeremy Jordan ... Guy Perkins
Jessica Alba ... Kirsten Liosis
Marley Shelton ... Kristin Davis
Jordan Ladd ... Gibby Zerefski
John C. Reilly ... Gus
Garry Marshall ... Rigfort
Sean Whalen ... Merkin
Cress Williams ... George
Octavia Spencer ... Cynthia
Sarah DeVincentis ... Rhoda
Written by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Rated PG-13
Never Been Kissed (1999) reviewed by Lisa Benecke
Never Been Kissed is a lively tribute to the awkwardness and power of adolescence. Glittering with charm and sensitivity in The Wedding Singer and Ever After, in which Drew Barrymore played characters quite simular in thier essence. Barrymore takes a comical turn in this movie. Still playing the innocent, yet mature type figure she also stretches her image in a big way by playing someone not only unhip, but unloved as well. Drew Barrymore plays 25 year old Josie Geller, the youngest copy editor ever to be hired by the Chicago Sun-Times, Her dreams of becoming a newspaper reporter come true when the newspaper`s stern managing editor (Garry Marshall) chooses to assign her to an undercover assignment: to pose as a high school student to write a story about the lives of today's teenagers. Josie appreciates her big break until she recalls the trauma of her earlier high school experience. Josie was the steroetypical nerd, the butt of every joke who was given the embarrassing nickname "Josie Gross-y" which still rings in her ears.




On her first day undercover back at highschool Josie finds herself almost immediately shunned by all of her classmates once again, befriended only by the unpopular Aldys, played by Rising star Leelee Sobieski, who gives a fine performance as the school brain. One cannot ignore Jeremy Jordon who also plays a charming and likeable role in this film as Guy Perkins, the school's renowned heartthrob who takes a liking to Josie from the beginning. Although you suspect that these two end up together, it takes a bit of a twist at the ending. Josies high school nightmares begin repeating themselves. Threatened to be fired if she doesn't present a flashy story, and fast, Josie is forced to attempt to become popular.

Thankfully, her 23-year-old slacker brother, Rob (David Arquette), who really was popular in his adolescent days ,and an aspiring baseball player, decides to register as a student at the same school, in part to help out his older sister and in part to re-energize his baseball career. He`s successful on both counts, as Josie becomes popular and he becomes the star shortstop. Great preformances from all the characters. Arquette's livewire act fits his character like a glove.




Michael Vartan makes a charming romantic lead as the teacher who secretly falls for her after being delighted by her mature understanding of Shakespeare's "As You Like It". Josie, like Rosalind, has found her true love while in disguise. Barrymore comes off best in the physical comedy aspects of the script in which she tries to walk, talk and act like a cool, hip high schooler. Walking into doors, pulling bizarre heads, and luxuriating in her character's goofiness, but also plays the film's sensitive moods to perfection.

It strange though that Barrymore is supposed to play a 25-year-old who goes back to high school and sticks out a little since she looks older, but the fact is that she doesn't look older.

Though the story tends to rush to the movie's prom-night climax, Never Been Kissed is a smart, snappy comedy that never loses the seriousness at heart. Acceptance, individuality, self-belief and loyalty are all part of this movies valuble themes. I think this film would be enjoyable weather your 15 or 50. If you've seen and like any of Drew Barrymores previous work, you will definatly enjoy this one.



Never Been Kissed gets it's title from a scene earlier on in the movie where Josie is talking to her coworker, Anita (Molly Shannon) on a lunch break about how she has "never been kissed". I found the theme of the film to be exciting and hilarious as you watch Josie set out to find her story "and finally be kissed". I give this film 4 stars.

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