IMDb rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Directed by the brilliant Nick Hurran, cast includes Kevin Zegers, Samaire Armstrong, Maury Chaykin, Sharon Osbourne and many more.
This is the second time I have seen this movie; the first time being when I was thirteen. Some had say that the first, the second and even the third time we read a book or see a movie, the experience will ever be the same. For all it is worth, when I have first seen this 5 years ago, I could only enjoy the funny jokes and corny concept but now that I think about it, I have barely even scratched the surface for what it truly is.
There is actually some pretty serious subtext if we bother to look for it. Woody (Zegers) and Nell (Armstrong) have grown up next door to each other, with Woody’s foul-mouth working class parents (Osbourne and Chaykin) contrasted against Nell’s high-achieving snobs (Joy and Miller). So naturally, sporty Woody and brainy Nell are in opposite groups in high school. One day, an argument in front of a mystical Mexican statue invokes a curse that switches them into each others’ bodies. Which is a bit horrific as it’s the week before Woody’s university-qualifying football game and Nell’s entrance interview at Yale. Will they be able to fill each others’ shoes? (quite literally)
It is predictable as it is blatantly enjoyable. Armstrong and Zegers definitely have great chemistry on screen I loved that they were able to tap into real emotions as they dig far deeper into the characters than this kind of film usually deserves. I also appreciate that the filmmakers did not create clean-cut, all-American teenagers as the characters are recognisably real which made it more entertaining for both teenagers and adults.
Of course there are important life lessons to learn from this teen flick, for instance, the standards that we are expected to meet as people will only prevent us from unlocking the full potential of ourselves. Armstrong’s character is a smart, witty and charming young lady. Yes, of course she comes from a wealthy and posh family. And yes, she is expected to enter a bad ass college like Yale University. On the contrary, Zegers’s character is your basic american jock. White, handsome, popular teen with the cheerleader girlfriend. As he will be the first member of his family to enter college on a football scholarship, he has his life ahead of him. Surrounding characters are more stereotypical, especially Koaho’s thankless womaniser and D’Orsay’s pushy cheerleader. Are expectations motivation or limitations? I am deeply intrigued by these set of characters; I am not surprised by the dynamic but I am curious how did these stereotypes form in the first place?
For this week’s prompt,
“Did the ending match your initial impression of the material?”
Yes, it is still deeply corny but I liked the how simple the film was. I would not go as far as say that it was one dimensional as it clears discusses serious subjects in some parts of the film but it is a fun premise and what made it different from other high school movies is that this film has a heart and by the end of it all, I found myself deeply moved by the whole experience.