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Sugar and Spice

Starring Marley Shelton, Rachel Blanchard, Melissa George, Mena Suvari, Sara Marsh
Screenplay by Mandy Nelson
Directed by Francine McDougall

IN SHORT: Crap. [Rated PG-13 for Language, Sex-related humor and Some Thematic Elements. 80 incredibly unfunny minutes]

Remember how Clueless was a light and fluffy story of one dimensional high school rich kids for whom fashion and music and relationships were the be all and end all of Life? What if that same kind of one dimensionality were applied to the lesser lights of high school life, with a similarly perky soundtrack glued on to keep everything light and fluffy? Do you think lightning could strike twice?

Not with a cynical and mean-spirited story with no laughs in it. Not with direction that doesn't produce one sympathetic character to root for. Not with a production whose budget doesn't allow for more than one supporting character of any weight; with performances so singularly awful, a handful of six year old kindergarten students could have done better. True, one of the characters is pregnant but six year old girls do love to play mommy. So . . .

It was the happiest moment of their parent's lives when Cheerleader Captain Diane Westin (Marley Shelton) and Lincoln High Quarterback Jack Bartlett (James Marsden) told their respective parents that they were going to get married. "But not until after the baby comes!" One mom goes out like a light. One dad curses up a blue streak, offscreen, and Jack and Diane settle into a hovel of a rental apartment, managed by a longhair who traffics in things that fall off trucks. Jack goes through job after job, trying to build a nest egg for the twins to come, but between school and varsity practice and Lamaze classes, there just isn't that much time for gainful employ.

Thanks goodness Diane has the support of a loyal squad of cheerleaders, none of whom seem to possess much clothing other than their school uniforms. Determined to get Diane the money she needs, the squad: Hannah the Virgin (Rachel Blanchard), Cleo the Stalker (Melissa George) , Kansas the Rebel (Mena Suvari), Lucy the Brain (Sara Marsh) and Fern the Terminator (Alexandra Holden) decide to rob a bank. They analyze every robbery movie ever made, decide that cops aren't half as smart as Keanu Reeves, and turn to Kansas' mom, in jail for murder, for some professional help.

There's a possibility buried here that Sugar and Spice may have been meant to be a satire on the corrupting influences of Hollywood on our young, but that would be giving the final product too much credit.

Once they pull off the robbery -- and we're going to keep this real short 'cuz this stinker will be out of theaters before you finish reading this page -- the whole gosh darn U. S. of A. goes haywire over the cleverness of the job. Cops bust immigrants. A witness, Lisa the Snitch (Marla Sokoloff), can identify the culprits. While she spills her guts to said law enforcement officers -- her statement narrates the movie -- Einstein's General Theory of Relativity kicks in and narrative time stops making sense. We're not going to explain it, 'cuz that means revealing what happens in what laughingly passes for a Third Act.

What we will say is that we read (and wrote, for that matter) a lot of bad scripts back in Screenwriting 101, but none were as bad as this piece of crap. And this piece of crap got made into a movie. Go figure.

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


Sugar and Spice has one small giggle in it. A frenetic pre robbery sequence shows that some of this could have been funny. Almost every aspect of this project reeks of disaster.

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