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NEVER BEEN KISSED

SYNOPSIS:
A copy editor , Josie Gellar, (Drew Barrymore) gets her chance to become a reporter at a Chicago daily. She's sent to do a feature on what cool high schoolers are doing. To really find out, she goes undercover as a student. Back at school, she gets to repair her own scarred teen psyche, as she was a total geek in her first go-around.

"Gawky, funny with a big heart, Never Been Kissed is a winning romantic comedy that is a fetching crowd pleaser, despite plot holes and a dose of overkill. It's colourful, bright and full of good humour, while a collection of upbeat contempo tunes keep toes tapping and hearts humming. Admittedly, you have to take a rather giant leap in order to accept the premise to begin with, but if you don your flubber imagination shoes, you can fly into a world of reliving those awkward years down high school memory lane. Drew Barrymore is a wonderful talent, with an engaging vulnerability. However, at times the director has let Barrymore get away with too much. She still manages to pull the film together, and with the compelling David Arquette, assured LeeLee Sobieski and an assortment of wonderful characters, there's a lot to enjoy. Essentially the film is about believing in yourself, keeping your dreams alive and finding out who you are. It's the quirky touches that work well – from the unexpected throw-aways to some genuine heart-felt moments. We spy the face of popularity and what a shallow, plastic façade it is; today's feather bower, tomorrow's feather duster. This is a film that has 'Box Office' written all over it, there's no swearing and it won't offend. But don't rush when the film is over, the end cast and crew credits show pictures of all and sundry as they were in their teens. Take your kids, take your high school sweetheart, take grandma too - they won't want to say that they've Never Been Kissed."
Louise Keller

"If one is simply prepared to leave one's cynicism well and truly behind, then plot holes aside, Never been Kissed is a surprisingly charming, cute and funny piece. The trick is not to take any of it seriously and see it for what it is: a modern fairytale and fantasy, that doesn't pretend to be deep and meaningful or especially real. Of course there are plot gaffes, sure, the premise is far fetched, but then, this is not the kind of film dependent on those kinds of criteria. The film sets you up, right from the outset, as being a fantasy, and taken on that level, it's an unexpected delight, a simple, old-fashioned charmer of a movie that is Cute with a capital 'c'. Of course, one can't imagine this movie working without Drew Barrymore, who also serves as its executive producer. Now restabilised as a spunky heroine with the heart of gold, Barrymore takes this film's simple premise and gives it plenty of soul. She's a natural comedienne, but not in a goofy sense; she turns the most improbable of situations and characters and turns them into real human beings. While the premise may be outlandish, at its centre is a tale about the need to fit in, rediscovering oneself and searching for the strength within, and Barrymore makes us believe in those themes, through her naturalistic, yet charismatic, performance. But the film's not only playing for laughs. In flashback sequences, Josie recalls her horrid school days, and for these scenes, the actress gained weight and made herself into a real ugly duckling. These scenes clarify Josie's painful torments, and help us understand her. In addition, we've all gone through Josie's pain, felt as if we needed to belong, but never did. Never Been Kissed is smartly directed by Raja Gosnell, and moves sprightly through its paces. Other strong performances are from Leelee Sobieski (A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries) as the academic outcast, and the always amusing David Arquette as Josie's brother, who also decides to return to high school for different reasons. Funny and consistently engaging, Never Been Kissed is a charmingly entertaining fantasy, and a delightful way to spend 90 minutes of your time."
Paul Fischer

"If you've been reading Urban Cinefile for a while, you'll know that I, amongst others, have bemoaned the vapidity of a number of recent teen movies. Well, finally, there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The recent 10 Things I Hate About You, and now Never Been Kissed, have brought at least a smidgen of class to the genre. Like 10 Things... , the film borrows from Shakespeare (in this case, As You Like It). But that alone does not a good film make. While the premise for the film is (mostly) plausible, some of the plotting definitely isn't. Many of the characters are seriously underdeveloped, familiar teen stereotypes - and the dreaded prom scene - are trotted out once again, and the finale is unashamedly manipulative. But in the end, you can forgive all these things because of the outstanding performance from Drew Barrymore. She actually plays three different Josies - the dork in high school, the insecure journalist who first walks into the school, and the newly popular girl who wins over even the most vicious critics. And, whether she's going for laughs or tears, she plays them all with a poise and charm that lifts the film above the run-of-the-mill. In fact, Barrymore's role is so commanding, there's little scope for the supporting cast to shine, although Leelee Sobieski and Molly Shannon (as a libidinous journo) are notable. Never Been Kissed requires hefty suspension of disbelief; but if you can manage it, this is a funny, engaging and sweet coming-of-age
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

NEVER BEEN KISSED (PG)
(US)

CAST: Drew Barrymore, Molly Shannon, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Leelee Sobieski, Garry Marshall, John C. Reilly, Jessica Alba, Marley Shelton, Jordan Ladd, and Jeremy Jordan

DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell

PRODUCER: Sandy Isaac, Nancy Juvonen, and Drew Barrymore

SCRIPT: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alex Nepomniaschy

EDITOR: Debra Chiate

MUSIC: David Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Steven Jordan

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: December 1, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox







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