Who's In It: Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Jack Carpenter, Lauren London, Lauren Storm, Cynthia Stevenson, Alan Ruck

The Basics: The nerdy valedictorian of his senior class uses a commencement speech to declare his secret love for the head cheerleader. For no apparent reason--and with no other graduation day parties or receptions to attend?--she finds this outburst intriguing enough to accompany him on "one crazy night" of teen drinking, car chases, sexual revelations, angry jock reprisals and makeout moments. Meanwhile, the disgruntled nerdy girls at this school all got to go home that evening and map out their life plans to become the next Tina Fey.

What's The Deal: Teen comedies = good. Unfunny, dead-air-bloated teen comedies = bad. Because, honestly, once you've seen Superbad and Adventureland (and why DIDN'T you see that one, by the way?) all you can do when handed a movie like this is pretend that the culture hasn't already produced something smarter, dirtier, funnier, cooler, better looking, more complex or more deserving of Alan (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) Ruck's presence. Go read the book instead. I hear it's pretty funny.

What Occasionally Works: Sidekicks Lauren London and Lauren Storm. They flank the flatly written character of Beth Cooper (whose few charms aren't nearly enough) and get to be the occasionally funny, always slutty chorus. Actors, take note: these are the interesting roles. Honorable Mention: Josh Emerson as the big lummox who winds up as a geek-protecting bodyguard.

How It's Like Funny Games: When Cooper's coked-up, roid-raging boyfriend comes along, his every scene is marked by a kind of scary ultraviolence that seems weirdly out of place. The movie is jolted out of its failed attempts at comedy and its failed attempts at poignancy and becomes a kind of skull-crushing sitcom about attempted murder.

If It Were Going To Win An Oscar, And It's Totally Not, Then It Should Win For: Craziest Sound Design. If you wind up seeing it for some pathetic, sad reason, be sure not to walk out before the battle scene involving snapping wet towels. Each fluffy white moment of impact sounds like a car accident. I dug that.


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