Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Get Over It



USA 2001
director : Tommy OHaver
script : R Lee Fleming, Jr
cinematography : Maryse Alberti
editing : Jeff Betancourt
music : Steve Bartek
lead actors : Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Shane West, Martin Short
87 minutes

Get Over It is an unforgivably bland title even for a teen romantic comedy, but the movie turns out to be pretty well named infectiously breezy but nothing special, likeable and forgettable in roughly equal measure. While leads Foster and Dunst (the latter misleadingly top-billed) aren’t among the most convincing screen couples, the movie isn’t really that bothered about the lovey-dovey nuts and bolts, which are strictly join-the-dots. Berke (Foster) is outraged when his longtime girlfriend Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) dumps him in favour of English boyband veteran Bentley Striker Scrumfeld.

Determined to win Allison back, Berke enrols alongside the lovebirds in his high-schools all-singing all-dancing musical version of A Midsummer Nights Dream, directed by egomaniac drama teacher Desmond Forrest-Oates (Short). Problem is, Berke can’t sing or dance, or even act, but Kelly (Dunst), multi-talented sister of his best pal Felix (Colin Hanks, son of Tom) is on hand to offer lessons. Soon, friendship turns to fondness, etc etc etc.

Its flimsy stuff, but director OHaver has two trump cards at his disposal as ever, Short expertly wrings every last drop of comic potential out of his suitably extravagant part, aided by some brief, thought-bubble flashbacks of his own disastrous showbiz career: the Diana Ross segment is a particular treat. Short has long been one of the best-value comic character actors in Hollywood, so its surprising to see him being given a run for his money in the scene-stealing stakes by the relatively unknown West.

Devilishly handsome, Strikers singing voice and dancing skills, honed during his days with the Swingtown Lads, are only undermined by his absurd English accent. But like most things in this happy-go-lucky hour-and-a-half, its all played for laughs as the lads cockernee tones are compared with those of Mary Poppins and Madonna. Its amusingly impossible to tell if either West or Scrumfeld are English or American (the actors from Louisiana), and there’s the added complication that the Wests dialogue sounds distinctly looped in afterwards one suspects its Short again, performing double-duty behind the scenes

This confusion isn’t a problem, nor does it detract from Wests nicely loathable cockiness as a transatlantic, slightly less manic cousin of Matthew Lillard from Shes All That.

Its no mean feat to stand out from whats an unusually large and skilled ensemble of young actors (disappointingly, the end credits are of the conventional rather than the picture variety, so we can’t easily work out who’s who.) Rnb star Sisqo acquits himself well in a prominent role as another of Berkes mates, his unexpected lack of inches proving no bar to success on the basketball court, and even the smallest roles are conspicuously well filled, with Christopher Jacot and cult favourite Park Bench making disproportionate impact as prima-donna leading man and stoner backstage technician respectively.

OHavers handling of the actors is top notch, but otherwise he walks a wobbly line between engaging daftness and off-putting silliness, most of the time falling the right side of the divide a slapstick scene where a gorgeous but accident-prone Kiwi babe (Kylie Bax) wrecks a Chinese restaurant could have been a disaster but ends up a smashing success. And if the pictures disaparate strands never quite come together, there are sufficient highspots invariably featuring Short and/or West to lift it out of the usual run of teen-targeted fare.

19th July, 2001
(seen Jul-19-01, UGC Boldon, Sunderland)

by Neil Young