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IN SHORT: Intelligent teen date flick. The story for the girls. A very young Kirsten Dunst and Rachael Leigh Cook and other girls in uniform for the guys.
QUICK HISTORY: All I Wanna Do was set for release two years ago under the title Strike! when the distributor balked thinking this flick, aimed at the feminine teen and GenX part of the audience, only listened to their boyfriends as to what movie they'd watch. Thus, having no say there was no market. The shame is, that's exactly the type of Neanderthal thinking addressed in writer/director Sarah Kernochan's All I Wanna Do, in which a girls only prep school is facing its end, while the girls inside are divided into those who want the suburban home, 3.2 children and a collie, and those who want careers and identities apart from their husbands. The setting is 1963, in the time that Jackie Kennedy was a model to millions of women and fiery feminist urges suppressed after World War II were once again begin to bubble.
All I Wanna Do is the story of teen kidlet Odette (Gaby Hoffman), exiled to Miss Godard's Preparatory School for Girls, 'cuz her parents found her diaphragm -- this being a time when we all believed life was supposed to be like Ozzie and Harriet or Leave It To Beaver, where the concept of sexual intimacy wasn't even a concept. That means, of course, that sex is constantly on their minds. This is where All I Wanna Do diverges from the path set by earlier, male-dominated school farces. Sex is important, but not central to the idea that a separate girl's school is the only way these young women will ever grow tough enough to compete in a world dominated by men. Unless, of course, they follow their mother's paths and marry some rich kid from the all-male school, and raise kids. It is, after all, 1963.
Each point of view has its own character to go along: would be actress/folk-singer/slut (her words) Tinka (Monica Keena); smart girl Momo (Merritt Wever) who wants to go to MIT; plain li'l Tweety (Heather Matarazzo) who seems to only want a boyfriend; authoritarian hall monitor Abby (Rachael Leigh Cook) and Leader of the Pack, Verena (Kirsten Dunst), who is constantly laying plans that screw with school discipline. All but Abby belong to a secret society called the Daughters of American Ravioli (for the midnight snacks they steal from their headquarters in a forgotten attic above the kitchen). Adult supervision is provided by Headmistress Miss McVane (Lynn Redgrave) and a lech of a teacher called Mr. Dewey (Robert Bockstael). A gang of Townies calling themselves "Flat Critters" is led by "Snake" (Vincent Kartheiser), who has his eye on the very attractive Tinka.
The core group discover that the trustees intend to go coed. Knowing that boys get picked first over any femme applicant to the better colleges, they determine (well, Verena and Momo, at least) to do whatever necessary to stop the coming merger with the "second rate" St. Ambrose School for Boys. A coming social gives them the opportunity. It also gives "Odie" a chance for a sneak rendezvous with boyfriend Dennis (Matthew Lawrence) and the locals a chance to crash into the "upper class".
Basically, All I Wanna Do has more stories running side by side than in the normal teen-targeted flick. While the earlier problems focussed on whether or not teens would buy tickets, based on two viewings of the flick I can say that anyone old enough to have had first hand experience of the 60s is going to find this to be a marvelous flick.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to All I Wanna Do, he would have paid...
Better than average dateflick level. Teen boys, bite down and take the girlfriend. For you, the flick won't pick up 'til the end but the ladies will love it. Back when this film was Strike!, I sent a female colleague to see the film, just to test my thesis and I was right. She rated All I Wanna Do at [a cool $7.00./ a righteous $6.00/ a decidedly affordable $5.00].
As for the rest
of us old folks, Cranky liked the flick when it was Strike! He still liked
it under the new title.
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