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Boys and Girls

Rated [PG-13], 93 minutes
Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Claire Forlani, Jason Biggs, Amanda Detmer, Heather Donahue
Screenplay by The Drews
Directed by Robert Iscove

IN SHORT: How do we spell dud? R-I-P-O-F-F

Our initial thoughts about Boys and Girls, written while waiting for the lights to go down and based strictly on the very funny teevee commercial, were as follows: "For the boys, four Victoria's Secret supermodels working their hardest to deliver the most effective product placement ever seen; one worth the price of admission if you haven't managed to worm your way on to the V.S. catalog mailing list. For the ladies, Freddie Prinze Jr., whom a femme friend describes as a flat out hottie. It seems like a fair trade to me, considering that the audience I'm looking at is almost perfectly divided -- young men on one side of the theater. Young ladies on the other. So how bad could it be . . ."

As a comedy, it isn't very funny.
As a romantic comedy, it isn't very romantic. or very funny.
As a sexy comedy, there is very little sex and not nearly enough comic clowning by Jason Biggs, who was dead on funny in American Pie.

And as for Bigg's scene with the models? The scene doesn't have anything to do with the movie. The scene isn't even in the movie, running during the closing credits about 90 minutes into the 93 minute flick. In simple critic-speak terms, that translates this way: This film is such a bomb that a desperate marketing strategy was designed to tack on something so that the movie could be marketed to it's late teen/ twentysomething demographic target. That means models in their underwear so that everyone that watches The Man Show, statistically the decision makers in this ticket buying demo, has something to look forward to. That their dates get to enjoy the hottie FPjr for nearly ninety minutes would make suckers of 'em all, except for one thing. . .

This demo is a mean and vicious lot. Long before the star pair finally get their moment in the sack, the crowd was hooting and hollering back at the screen. At that lovely collegiate age, when hormones rage out of control, talk is cheap and movie tickets aren't. Even this crowd, who got in for free, needed a little bit of action. What the movie provides, unfortunately, is fairly action free.

Boys and Girls, essentially a very long conversation over roughly a ten year period of time, takes the position that the most enduring relationships begin with the most enduring friendships. Thus we have Jennifer (Claire Forlani) and Ryan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) both children of divorce meeting for the first time on a solo airplane ride to their new homes. She's thirteen. He's twelve. Their paths will cross from time to time across the years until they both find themselves doing their undergrad work UC Berkeley.

Little has changed about Ryan since their first meeting. He's a virtual control freak. Everything in his life must go according to some kind of plan. Jennifer is a free spirit. Despite the obvious template, the pair eventually make a good set of friends, though there's not a bit of romantic spark to be found in Prinze's way underplayed performance or Forlani's more than attractive smile and manner. They discuss their dating lives, or lack thereof, which for a time includes Ryan seeing Jennifer's roommate Amy (Amanda Detmer). What little comedy there is is provided by Jason Biggs as Hunter, Ryan's roommate whose attempts at self-reinvention basically come down to changing his hair color as he moves from freshman to sophomore to junior to senior year. As well, Hunter's attempts to get a date are the few and far between high points of the flick. His counterpart, Megan (Amanda Donahue), takes Amy's place in Ryan's life after Jennifer prods her pal to loosen up.

As the film drags on and on to its inevitable conclusion, sans models, Cranky got more enjoyment watching the demo target hurl epithets at the screen. The kidlets didn't buy this scenario for a bit -- one girl commented "I didn't think this could be bad but it was bad." She was being polite. Her date flat out said it sucked. Most of the other kidlets agreed.

The funniest part of the flick, to be fair, was not so much on the screen but in the reaction of the audience as they quickly headed for the doors when the end credits rolled. Finally, a hint of lingerie. Every male standing or sitting froze in his tracks like a deer in a set of headlights. Finally, a very funny and very crude scene in the style of Pie. Was it worth the wait? No.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Boys and Girls, he would have paid...


Well, heck, Victoria's Secret is what it is and, after all, there are four of 'em . . . Let someone else pay for the rental.

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