Get Over It
Director: Tommy O'Haver. Cast: Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Shane West, Melissa Sagemiller, Colin Hanks, Sisq, Park Bench (I'm not kidding), Martin Short, Swoosie Kurtz, Ed Begley Jr., Vitamin C, Carmen Electra (for woe). Screenplay: R. Lee Fleming, Jr.

Tommy O'Haver's teen comedy Get Over It centers around a high-school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which comes across as a strange sort of redundancy, because Get Over It never feels like anything but a high school play anyway. The surest proof that the movie is dead in the water, even by its genre's undemanding standards, can be found in the way Kirsten Dunst, by far the movie's most proven and reliable young talent, keeps dodging out of her scenes—not acting badly, really, just trying to cover up that she's acting at all. Does O'Haver have some sort of blood-money coercion over her? Does she owe someone in this cast a favor? Dunst's presence in a movie that is in every respect beneath her remains a mystery that no one could possibly have the interest to resolve. It's better just to get over it.

The rest of the movie, if you must know, is about Berke Landers (Ben Foster), a sweet kid who's recently been dumped by his girlfriend, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), in favor of a glowering, affected new kid named Striker (Once and Again's Shane West). That Berke can't believe his beloved would fall for a kid named "Striker," much less one with a vocal pretense at Englishness, is something we can understand; that Berke's attachment to Allison began when both of them were five years old, and that most of his libidinal investment in her is alleged to have begun at that time, is so creepy and gross that you hardly want the movie to continue from such an awkward, unseemly premise.

The fact that you can see every character type and plot "twist" a mile away doesn't make Get Over It any more compelling. It is even less engaging, if such a thing is imaginable, if you've already put up with She's All That, Miramax's most lucrative previous entry in the teen-comedy genre and the most recent script by Get Over It's scribe, R. Lee Fleming, Jr. If that name strikes you as some kind of witness-protection alias, you'd want to hide, too, if you had shot off two screenplays that so baldly xeroxed each other's already-weak foundations. Beyond the stylized high-school milieu, we have the primary plot of a dickhead in nice-guy clothing belatedly falling for an artistic female soul, in this case Dunst's singer-songwriter, Kelly; the preening pretty-boy who's stolen the hero's unworthy girlfriend (Striker in this film is a limper reprise of Matthew Lillard's Real World prima donna); a token black sidekick borrowed from the R&B pop charts (She's All That's Usher Raymond has been replaced in this movie by Sisq); slumming character actors playing kooky/kind parents (this time out, Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley as Berke's sex-obsessed parents); and a famous actor stuck in a peripheral sibling role that is hardly worth the extra exposure. In She's All That, the stranded thesp was Anna Paquin, playing Freddie Prinze Jr.'s saucy sister. It's further proof, as if any were needed, of Get Over It's astonishing thinness that the big name this time around is Colin Hanks, who prays for stray reflections of daddy Tom's winsome charm as he mugs through a stupid role as Dunst's jealous older brother.

When a high school fable as shrill and unoriginal as She's All That is your new movie's primary touchstone, you know you're in trouble; when your movie comes off far worse by comparison, it's time to pack up and go home. Get Over It extends the promise of perking up every now and then when Martin Short's old-school gay stereotype of a drama teacher pops on screen, but even his dependably goofy grins and dry punchlines can't breathe life into the lame duck O'Haver and Fleming hath wrought. A shame, because O'Haver's last movie, the gay-themed comedy Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, with a pre-Will & Grace Sean Hayes, was a capable and zestfully pop-flavored confection. The only remnants of that spirit to be found in Get Over It are, unsurprisingly, in the two scenes most cleanly separable from the lifeless plot. During the opening credits, the B-level dance diva Vitamin C belts out a healthy cover of the Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together"; even more spirited is Sisq's robust end-credits rendition of Earth, Wind & Fire's nearly unmuckable "September," to which the entire cast go-go dances with seemingly all the energy they've been withholding during their rote exercises onscreen. There's something almost perverse about a show that only comes alive as the curtain rises and falls, and the infectious end in particular plays as though it's the dessert O'Haver demanded as a reward for slogging through the flavorless gruel of the narrative. You'll notice that Dunst is barely onscreen even for this afterthought reverie. Disco or no, she was clearly ready to bolt when her plotline concluded; would that the thought had arrived to her when the script showed up in her inbox. Grade: D

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