Drive Me Crazy

Drive Me Crazy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The social strata of high school life provides endless fodder for moviemakers and psychiatrists. Drive Me Crazy succumbs to some obvious clichés, but for the most part is an original, funny tale of love and angst in teenage America.

In this witty update of the Pygmalion story, popular Nicole Maris (Melissa Joan Hart) makes over her beatnik neighbour Chase Hammond (Adrian Grenier) when the pair decide to pretend a love affair to make their true crushes jealous. Of course, it never goes according to plan, and the two kids from different worlds are drawn to each other.

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Hart shows natural comic timing. She wins our heart with her maneuverings and take-charge attitude, not to mention a kindness not often seen in the teenage set. Of course, the splay of freckles and adolescent baby fat don't hurt.

Grenier displays an effortless charisma that makes it entirely believable the athletic, in-crowd would accept him as one of their own. The pair play off each other nicely, creating good chemistry.

The production is nothing to speak of, with shots of a high school that could have been filmed anytime in the last two decades. But director John Schultz's clever cuts and a brisk pace keep our interest.

Screenwriter Rob Thomas certainly knows his stuff, as he intersperses clever banter with pop-culture references and the identifying marks of the different social sets. Nicole accuses Chase of a fondness for clove cigarettes and bongos, even as he promises to stop by the mall for a Swatch.

At times the story is heavy-handed. Nicole's distrust of the male sex stems from her father being unreliable, natch. This is resolved in a saccharine way, as all the loose ends get tied up in the last 20 minutes.

Though the messages aren't new, they're delivered in a quick-witted, charming way. We're fond of Nicole and Chase so it makes sense they're fond of each other.

And even their agreement to fake a romance makes sense. In a world where fathers leave and mothers die, a business arrangement can seem the safest way to love.

In the end, neither these hardened teens nor the audience is immune to love. You won't be surprised by this film's destination, but it's an entertaining ride.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Witty update of Pygmalion.
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Director: John Schultz

Writer: Rob Thomas, Todd Strasser

Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Adrian Grenier, Stephen Collins, Susan May Pratt, Mark Webber, Kris Park, Gabriel Carpenter, Ali Larter, Lourdes Benedicto, Keri Lynn Pratt, Natasha Pearce

Year: 1999

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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