NEVER BEEN KISSED
Release Date: April 09, 1999
Starring: Drew Barrymore, David
Arquette, Michael Vartan, John
C. Reilly, Leelee Sobieski, &
Runtime: 101 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Raja Gosnell
Producer: Sandy Isaac & Nancy Jovonen
Writer: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein &
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Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is a talented copy editor, but she has never been a reporter. She was able to reach her high position very quickly because in high school, she buckled down and studied, shunning fun and dating. In common words, she was a "geek to the core." To scoop the Chicago Tribune, she is assigned to go undercover at a local high school to report on today's teenagers. Now, at age 25, Josie must figure out her story, and relive her horrific adolescence.
In school, she is embraced by the brainy nerds, and shunned by the popular crowd. She again experiences the brunt of practical jokes, and various humiliations such as spilling chocolate on her white pants and the horrors of physical education. Additionally, she develops a crush on the young, handsome Shakespeare teacher who appears to be only in his late 20s. Her popularity goes from bad to worse, and she can't find a story. Her boss all the while jumps down her neck.
To the rescue arrives her younger brother, Rob (David Arquette), who also enrolls in the school. He eats gallons of cole slaw and excels on the baseball team, which quickly makes him a hit. He then tells all the in-crowd that Josie has a lot going for her. The popular crowd accepts Josie, and she even gets invited to the prom by the class hunk. However, her boss sniffs a juicy story of teacher-student indiscretions and encourages Josie to make herself available to the interested teacher. Josie refuses, even while risking her job, and makes some surprising revelations to her new classmates. In conclusion, Josie finds her great story, reconciles with her unpopular friends and receives her first kiss.
It must be noted that Josie, at 25, not only hasn't had intercourse, she hasn't even been kissed. She gives a little speech to a friend that she wants to wait for her one true love, and then live happily ever after with him, supposedly in marriage. This is a rarity among today's teen movies, which seem to have ever-increasing amounts of depravity. Josie also rebukes vanity and conditional love, while extolling friendship. She also encourages others to not be crowd followers, but be their own person. Her slightly despicable brother, Rob, who at first sees an opportunity to romance young high-school girls, also turns down an opportunity to fornicate.
NEVER BEEN KISSED, however, does have its red flags. Josie unknowingly eats a marijuana laced brownie, and it is recorded that many of the youth in her high school are using drugs and alcohol. There is some sexual humor among the teens, and an unnecessary scene where Josie's pal from the paper, Anita (Molly Shannon), is mistaken for a sex ed teacher, and demonstrates how to put condoms on bananas. (Anita, however, is displayed rather pejoratively, a bit of a trashy weakling, and certainly not heroic.)
With today's rapidly changing times, this movie attempts to show the differences between Generation X who are in their 20's and early 30's, and the baby kaboom period of people now in their teenage years. Josie concludes that while today's teenagers may face more struggles and difficulties, there are always the same types of people in high school throughout the ages - the brain, the jock, the beauties, and the outcast. She concludes people are people, and all should be respected and loved. She also, through her lifestyle and example, makes a heroine out of chastity, displaying more strength and courage than her peers and the younger generation that chose to live without God's transcendent moral order. For that, the movie's frank discussion and depiction of today's woes makes it inappropriate for younger teenagers, but older youth may learn something valuable from NEVER BEEN KISSED.