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SUGAR AND SPICE

SYNOPSIS:
The A-Squad cheerleaders rule at Lincoln High. The boys adore them. Other girls want to be them. But when the team's hyper-enthused captain, Diane (Marley Shelton), falls pregnant to the school's football hero, Jack (James Marsden), the tightly knit squad chip in to help the struggling parents-to-be. But cake sales and raffles won't do; these gals make a pact to rob the supermarket bank where Diane works. Kansas (Mena Suvari) consults her imprisoned Mom (Sean Young) for tips, and with geeky Lucy (Sara Marsh), devout Hannah (Rachel Blanchard), and sexy Cleo (Melissa George) in tow, these go-getters hatch a plan based on the movies' best bank robberies, from Reservoir Dogs to Point Break to Heat.

"With shades of Clueless and The Breakfast Club, and the blackness of Heathers, Election, and at a stretch, American Beauty, Sugar and Spice is a satirical observation of modern American teens, the trouble they get themselves into, and the hearts of gold that get them out. On the surface we have the popular girls with cheerleading routines as perfect as their well-proportioned bodies. But as we see from within, these gals are a conniving little bunch of upstarts with a fierce sense of loyalty. When a dose of adult reality hits home (and it's no accident the heroic couple's names are Jack and Diane), the others take kinship to criminal extremes. It's a nicely ironic perspective to undercut the American way of life, if somewhat unmemorable, with sassy performances from the young actresses. And it's good to see none fit the stereotype; each has a quirky streak that makes them realer than The Breakfast Club norm. Heading a cast and crew of almost entirely females, first time Australian director Francine McDougal has done a bang-up job, cleverly referencing the popular films this plays on, and showing us that Apple-Pie American teens (cheerleaders, quarterbacks, straight-A students) have problems too. She proves that an outsider's eye is often the sharpest. Sugar and Spice does have its flat spots, for not all the comedy works on an ironic or particularly clever level. Melissa George does well as the group's obsessive sexpot with a fetish for Conan O'Brien, but she's given little else to do, and the very promising Marla Sokoloff is just plain wasted. But for a year that's delivered one toilet humour movie after another, Sugar and Spice is a refreshing high school satire that's not just for teens."
Shannon J. Harvey

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SUGAR AND SPICE (M)
(US)

CAST: Marla Sokoloff, Marley Shelton, Melissa George, Mena Suvari, Sara Marsh, Rachel Blanchard, Sean Young, James Marsden, Alexandra Holden

DIRECTOR: Francine McDougall

PRODUCER: Wendy Finerman

SCRIPT: Mandy Nelson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Brinkmann

EDITOR: Sloane Klevin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeff Knipp

MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh

RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 14, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: January 9, 2002







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