What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film sarcastically encourages teens to sleep with 35-year-old men. There's some comic violence when the school's teen werewolf kills the guidance counselor. The film also presents the teen years as a time of predation: both being preyed on by bullies your own age and by lascivious adults. But overall, the film has the same message as every '80s teen movie that it spoofs: Be yourself and you'll be rewarded with the girl and popularity.
What's the story?
Charlie (Mikey Day) and Lori (Dominique Swain) move from Pittsburgh to California. On the first day of school, Charlie finds he's at the bottom of the "cool rankings" list. With him at the bottom is Billie Bunts (Nicki Clyne), who is reviled for making her own clothes and being "oily and poor." Charlie longs to impress popular, big-haired Kimberly (Sweet Valley High's Brittany Daniel) and replace cool-guy Kip (Joey Kern). Meanwhile, Lori is crushed when she learns that dancing has been outlawed because some kids had a dance in a barn and their "feet came loose," killing the kids instantly. When she meets the school's former dance instructor and current janitor Gabriel Chris Kattan), she falls in love and hatches a plan to get dancing legalized again by performing the dangerous starfire dance move after the decathlon.
Is it any good?
Condense all '80s movies into an hour and a half, sprinkle in some really horrible dance moves, and you've got this enjoyable spoof by the channel that brought you I Love the '80s. If the plot sounds insane, it is. But it's not meant to be sane. It's meant to cram in as many references to '80s movies as possible. There are the Dirty Dancing dance practice scenes, with Kattan's perfect Patrick Swayze mullet. There's the fabulously snarky dance number a la Staying Alive (headbands and all). There's the best-friend-as-lover moments a la Some Kind of Wonderful, complete with fingerless knit gloves. And of course there are the big hair and pink leather skirt ensembles with shoulder pads (part of every '80s teen movie).
The true fabulousness of this film will probably be lost on younger generations, since they're unlikely to have the encyclopedic knowledge of the '80s celebrated in the I Love the '80s series of clip shows. There's a reason this movie originally aired on VH1 and not MTV. It's aimed at an older demographic.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why these themes continue to dominate teen movies. Why are older men always so attractive to teen girls in the movies? Why do teens believe, as Charlie says, "I'm 17. My life sucks"? Is it as dangerous to be a teen as the movie portrays?