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DRIVE ME CRAZY

SYNOPSIS:
Teenagers Nicole Maris (Melissa Joan Hart) and Chase Hammond (Adrien Grenier) live next door to each other but have little in common. Dedicated student Nicole is in charge of organising the high school centennial dance while the rebellious Chase spends most of his time with fellow outsiders at the local coffee shop/performance art venue. When Chase is dumped by girlfriend Dulcie (Ali Larter) and Nicole's dream date with basketball star Brad (Gabriel Carpenter) falls through, she suggests to Chase that they pretend to date in order to attract the attention of their respective romantic prey. As the night of the big dance approaches Nicole and Chase discover that true love may be closer than either imagined.

"Another teen movie which climaxes at the high school dance at which everyone's romantic affairs will finally be put in order? Drive Me Crazy might follow a well established pattern and contributes nothing new to the genre plot-wise but is miles ahead of the pack thanks to intelligently written characters who actually say something while negotiating their way to the big night. Things don't look promising at the outset as the separate worlds of goody-goody Nicole and the grungy Chase (looking like a reject from a Ramones audition in 1977) are rather ponderously established but once the "let's pretend to be dating" plan kicks in, the film starts to take off. The trajectory is predictable but the insight into how teenagers really feel about the dating and mating game makes it stand out. It's refreshing to see a teenpic with characters who have the brains to know that who you go with to the school dance isn't really going to be one of life's defining moments. Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina The Teenage Witch on TV) is a spunky heroine with the presence of a young Jodie Foster and is a delight to watch as she executes a reverse-gender Pygmalion on Chase while explaining that "when guys compete it's overt, when girls compete, it's art". Grenier has charm to add to his Greek god looks and makes an appealing object of Nicole's growing affection. Drive Me Crazy is still the kind of movie where you keep tabs on all the unattached sideline characters to figure out who everyone will end up with at the end but it's done with plenty of heart and a refreshing lack of the gross-out humour applied to most teen films these days. Unlike many recent teenflicks these kids are worth hanging around with for 90 minutes."
Richard Kuipers

"From its blandly meaningless title to its highly predictable plot, Drive Me Crazy doesn’t pretend to be anything except what it is: a totally formulaic, anonymous teen movie. Indeed, this film is so relentlessly conventional it’s virtually an up-to-date dictionary of the genre. There’s a senior prom (more or less), a party, a makeover, and a big stress on fashion. There are cheerleaders, jocks and bitchy cliques; on the other hand, there’s an array of slackers and wimps, plus references to such ‘alternative’ phenomena as body piercing, animal-rights activism, video art, girl punk bands, and the Internet. Then there are numerous nods to pop culture past and present (when Nicole gets drunk, Chase calls it her ‘Dean Martin impersonation’) a crowd-pleasing soundtrack, some standard mockery of baby-boomers, and a certain amount of soul-searching based on the fact that both main characters come from broken homes. There’s lots of romance but no sex to speak of (and no drugs except alcohol). In short, this is a pretty average teen comedy – fast, funny, symmetrically constructed, skilful in juggling its many subplots, and liable to play it safe in most directions. It’s notable in particular that Chase’s politically-minded girlfriend is the one character the script can’t really deal with – since the popular kids and the slackers can only be reconciled when their different ways of life are reduced to structurally equivalent fashion statements. But who wants a manifesto here anyway? On the face of it, Drive Me Crazy may contain nothing impressive, transgressive or significant, but nor do most current films with bigger pretensions – and you’ll probably be entertained if you’re in the right mood."
Jake Wilson

"This is a really bad teen movie. Nothing scary happens. There's not a really awful bad guy to hate. The lead characters aren't overly appealing and have no chemistry whatsoever. Melissa Joan Hart (TV's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) does an able job as the confident young teen. She certainly has some charisma but no real vulnerability. Adran Grenier is good looking but lame, though perhaps this is the fault of the very ordinary direction and script. The plot is so predictable that there's really no point seeing the movie. Somehow it
doesn't even have that comfortable predictability where the world is boring but OK, thus making it a safe place to be. And the title makes no sense. It seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the movie. This started to bother me, thinking maybe I'd missed some important plot material which could have enlightened me. I searched my memory. Nothing. Then I searched the production notes. And there it was. "The film takes its title from the third single off teen singing sensation Britney Spears' four-time-platinum-selling album Baby, One More Time, which is featured prominently in the film." Oh I get it now. A whole film is named after a three minute pop song which it in no way resembles. To the end, Drive Me Crazy remains, a song in search of a movie."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

DRIVE ME CRAZY (M)

(US)

CAST: Melissa Joan Hart, Adrian Grenier, Stephen Collins, Mark Metcalf, William Converse-Roberts, Faye Grant, Susan May Pratt, Kris Park, Ali Larter, Mark Webber, Gabriel Carpenter, Lourdes Benedicto, Keri Lynn Pratt, Natasha Pearce, Derrick Shore

DIRECTOR: John Schultz

PRODUCER: Amy Robinson

SCRIPT: Rob Thomas, Todd Strasser (novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kees Van Oostrum

EDITOR: John Pace

MUSIC: Greg Kendall

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Aaron Osborne

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: FOX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 10, 2000

VIDEO RELEASE (Rental): Sept 13, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE (Retail): March 13, 2002







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