Never Been Kissed

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 1999

Common Sense Media says

Sweet, romantic story for teens has some edgy scenes.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 1999

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Josie ultimately learns important lessons about being proud of who you are -- and that being true to yourself and your friends matters more than fitting in. There's also a strong theme about it never being too late to start over/try again. But there's also a lot of dishonesty in the story, and some of the attractions/flirtations between characters who aren't quite what they seem (twentysomething/teenager, and teacher/supposed student) can be uncomfortable.

Positive role models

Jose is enthusiastic and hardworking, but she's also insecure and overly concerned about what others think of her -- until she learns some important lessons, that is. There are plenty of high school stereotypes on display -- the "mean girls"/popular kids are stereotypically snobby and vapid, while the smart kids are all nerdy misfits who love math. Josie and her brother, both twentysomethings, pretend to be high school students and both end up "dating" teenagers, while Josie also flirts with one of her teachers, who believes she's a 17-year-old.

Violence

Some comic pratfalls, etc. A character throws eggs at another character.

Sex

Kissing and lots of flirting -- some of it between characters who would have problematic age differences if they were all telling the truth ("teenage" Josie and a teacher, Josie and her brother and actual teenagers). In a scene in which high schoolers are meant to learn about sex ed, they're shown putting condoms on bananas (with references to "the real thing"), and anatomical models are shown. A supporting character frequently discusses her sex life (with some lewd gestures/references) and is implied to sleep around. Teen characters talk about sex/losing virginity. Some skimpy/tight outfits on teenage girls.

Language

A couple of uses of "s--t," plus "oh my God," "ass," "hell," "goddamn," and "damn."

Consumerism

The Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune newspapers are mentioned frequently (Josie works for the Sun-Times); Josie talks about her car by its brand name (Buick).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Josie unknowingly eats a pot brownie and gets very high/silly -- the scene is played for comedy. Teens drink at a party, and a teen girl who's acting goofy during prom admits to having had some champagne. Some background smoking and beer drinking by adults.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Never Been Kissed is an upbeat romantic comedy with underlying themes of self-respect and making good decisions. That said, the characters do deceive each other, and there's a lot of high school stereotyping. There are also quite a few sexual references -- Josie's friend at the office brags about her sex life (but envies Josie's views on love), and a "sex talk" scene involves putting condoms on bananas. In another scene, Josie unknowingly eats some pot brownies and behaves very foolishly; there's some additional teen drinking as well. Flirting/dating between characters of very different ages (undercover twentysomethings and teens), while part of the movie's humor, can feel awkard. Language includes "s--t," "ass," and "damn."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), a former high school ugly duckling ("Josie Grossie"), is now a copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. Eager to prove herself as a reporter, she goes undercover as a high school student to report on what's going on in the lives of teenagers -- and quickly discovers that she's desperate to use her adult competence to triumph over her hideously humiliating memories of being unpopular and find a way to fit in. But it turns out that the skills it takes to succeed as an adult have nothing to do with the skills it takes to succeed in high school. When Josie does find a place with "The Denominators," the school's brainy (nerdy) crowd, she's happy. But, pressed by her editor to fit in with the cool kids, she relives her old experiences of frustration and embarrassment. Meanwhile, her brother, Rob (David Arquette), has found that everything that made him successful in high school has been of no use since. Wanting to help Josie -- and to return to the place where he was happiest -- he, too, re-enrolls in high school; not only is he immediately dubbed "cool" by the entire student body, but he's also able to make Josie cool, too. Quickly, she gets noticed by the most popular boy in school and is thrilled when he invites her to the prom. But she's also falling in love with her handsome English teacher (Michael Vartan). All of the predictable complications ensue, leading to a finale that's more romantic than persuasive, but fun.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

NEVER BEEN KISSED is a genuinely sweet and romantic story with some perceptive comments about life in high school. It also has a heroine who believes in waiting for the right person to kiss, even if that wait takes quite a while, and Barrymore is completely adorable.

Parents should know that there are some sexual references (Josie's friend at the office brags about her sex life but envies Josie's views on love) and uncomfortable "relationships" between teens and twentysomethings who are pretending to be teens (as well as between a teacher and a girl he believes to be a teen). Luckily, nothing goes too far -- for instance, a teen girl offers to have sex with Rob, but while he's clearly tempted, he knows that it would be wrong, and he turns her down. Ultimately, characters make decisions about sexual involvement based on love and maturity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why high school is such a clique-ish stage of life. Teens: What do think will be different in college and afterward?

  •  

  • Why does Josie want so badly to meet the limited standards of high school popularity? Why did her friends at work envy her? Why didn't she tell the truth earlier?

  • Is it funny or awkard when Josie and Rob flirt with teens -- or when Josie flirts with her teacher, who thinks she's a teenager? Is it all OK b/c the audience knows the characters' true ages?

  • How does the movie portray drug use and drinking? Are the consequences of Josie's pot brownie "adventure" realistic?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 2, 1999
DVD release date:October 26, 1999
Cast:David Arquette, Drew Barrymore, John C. Reilly, Michael Vartan
Director:Raja Gosnell
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Romance
Topics:High school, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sex-related material and some drug content

This review of Never Been Kissed was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byPanya April 9, 2008
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Great for showing how "the other half" lived through high school

I really related to the main character. When I saw it for the first time, I remember thinking that all junior and high school students should see it.

Teen, 14 years old Written bySomebodysMe June 23, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Really cute!

This is one of my all-time fave movies. (yeah, I know i say that alot, but this really is!) Josie is the perfect role model, not compromising any of her values to fit in. Rob too, when a girl (16) asks to sleep with him (23) he turns her down though thouroughly tempted. Yeah, there's a lot of sex in it (nothing totally explicit) My advice would be to watch it before your kids see it, and then watch it with them with your finger on the fast-forward and mute buttons.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bytheflickchick March 29, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

great movie

I liked it, except it has a few sexy parts so ages 11+
The bad stuff: A little sexy things and references, talk about kissing, and kissing. Some language.
The good stuff: Positive role models and messages, for example, a character quits being part of the mean "popular clique"
The movie: Good. I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models

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