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GET OVER IT

SYNOPSIS
Berke Landers (Ben Foster) knows he has the love of a lifetime. Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) and he have been together since they were little kids, and he knows that it is the perfect relationship that will never end. Wrong. Allisonís looking for the spark of the new, and finds it in the shape of boy-band singer Striker (Shane West). Berke can hardly believe it, let alone get over it - except perhaps with a little help from both Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), who is the sister of Berkeís best friend Felix (Colin Hanks); and Shakespeare.

With a background in gay independent film, director Tommy O'Haver brings a campier-than-usual sensibility to this disappointing Kirsten Dunst teen movie, which comes close to being a full-fledged backstage musical. Unfortunately O'Haver finally lacks the courage to go beyond irony and video clip antics Ė the parodic songs are bland and the dancing is limited, though the rapper Sisqo gets to show off a few moves. Similarly, at first glance O'Haver displays an energetic, cartoonish visual style, shooting in widescreen while laying on split-screen effects, fantasy sequences and strong primary colours. But in the end none of this can disguise a fundamental visual monotony currently standard in this genre Ė a reliance on medium shots of people talking, designed more for TV than for the big screen. (The limitations of this approach are especially clear in O'Haver's feeble attempts to stage large-scale slapstick.) Otherwise, this featherweight film has a few funny and charming moments, but not enough of either. Dunst looks great and acts warmer than usual, but she's ill-served by a script that asks her to spend scene after scene making goo-goo eyes at a nondescript jock who ignores her. Martin Short hogs much of the brief running time as a queeny drama coach, making me wonder if the target audience of teenage girls is really that desperate to see more satire of amateur theatre. And what about the Shakespearian allusions so puzzlingly persistent in current teen movies? Is there a real audience demand for them, or are the screenwriters just trying to show off their education while acting as English tutors by stealth? In any case the parallels with A Midsummer Night's Dream are notably strained and vague, focusing almost exclusively on the 'star-crossed lovers' at the expense of other aspects of the play. It did occur to me that the slacker stagehands who intervene at the climax might be intended as counterparts to Shakespeare's 'rude mechanicals,' but if so the idea is barely worked out.
Jake Wilson

Get Over It is one of those rare films that's hard to review. Not for its complex mix of plot, structure and character development, but for being so instantly forgettable the minute you leave the cinema. There's nothing wrong with that. Not every film needs to be Citizen Kane, and I love a good slice of cheesy entertainment as much as the next guy. But Get Over It is too light-on to be entertaining enough, with jokes few and far between and just a few characters that deliver hammy performances to keep you smiling. It's similar to a hundred other lazy high school romance flicks, and it's curious to note that it took Miramax heavyweight Harvey Weinstein (rather than a writer or director) to suggest the inclusion of Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream in the film, with its matching themes of broken hearts and unrequited love. It's an attempt to add a little sparkle to an otherwise laborious affair, but it still pales in comparison to other teenage-riffs on classic literature like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You. At least the play's inclusion allows consummate over-actor Martin Short to ham it up as drama teacher "Dr Desmond Forrest-Oates, Fine Arts Chair". His ridiculous Elvis-do, loud shirts and fake tan make no secret of his sexuality, and Short robs every scene he's in from his green co-stars. Ben Foster (previous star of TVs cult comedy Freaks and Geeks), is not exactly a magnetic big screen lead, moping around until the bouncy, bubbly Kirsten Dunst grabs his attention - and ours. She sure has grown up since Interview with the Vampire, and she doesn't mind showing it off. Get Over It is mildly amusing, but it's hard to like a film where a high school play looks better than the film itself. You too should be over it the instant the film is over.
Shannon J. Harvey

In the words of The Simpsonís Millhouse: ĎWe were like Romeo and Juliet, only it ended in tragedy.í Everyone relates to a little of The Bard, even if they havenít read the end. In this case itís the love rivalry of A Midsummer Nightís Dream. Introduced to Shakespeare by a desire to appear in a school play for less than artistic motives - jealousy and posturing to put it bluntly - the teenage prototypes who populate this flick begin to relate to the play as a soap opera with very long words. But thatís Shakespeare for you, an insight into character that stretches from existential angst to teenage heartbreak. He also knew a thing or two about plays within plays; and if he were around today heíd know that any decent comedy including the staging of a school drama will always have its weakest moments in the actual showing of the play. Unfortunately, the slapstick giggle or two elicited in this case is the highlight of a witless film. Of course there also has to be the tragic, self-deluded director; and again the only mirthful character is delivered by Martin Short, hamming it up as a camp vulgarian who fancies himself as a cross between Franco Zeffirelli and Stock, Aitken and Waterman. However, instead of providing the filler gags, Short steals the show. Kirsten Dunst is also impressive (and even sings sweetly) as a talented, but beleaguered little sister, but alas, is awarded no winning lines. Meanwhile, Ben Fosterís protagonist is no more than a dull dork; and Colin Hanks demonstrates less flair with dialogue than his old man, Tom, did conversing with a volley ball. I sometimes suspect filmmakers of intentionally taunting film critics with titles like this one. Will we come down to the level of the screenplay? Believe me, Get It Over is a much wittier line than any in the film. And thatís a real tragedy.
Brad Green

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 2

GET OVER IT (M)
(US)

CAST: Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Melissa Sagemiller, Sisqo, Martin Short

PRODUCERS: Michael Burns, Marc Butan, Paul Feldsher

DIRECTOR: Tommy O'Haver

SCRIPT: R. Lee Fleming Jr

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Maryse Alberti

EDITOR: Jeff Betancourt

MUSIC: Steve Bartek, Marc Shaiman, Sisqo, Scott Wittman

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 6, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE

VIDEO RELEASE: January 23, 2002







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