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Boys And Girls
cast: Amanda Detmer, Freddie Prinze Jr, Claire Forlani, Jason Biggs

director: Robert Iscove

90 minutes (12) 2000
Hollywood VHS rental

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Ellen Cheshire
Transposing classic literature into high school romantic comedies has been an increasing trend over the last few years. Jane Austen's Emma transmogrified into the delightful Clueless, William Shakespeare's comedy The Taming Of The Shrew became 10 Things I Hate About You and the soon to be released O is based on one of his tragedies - Othello. So what long forgotten source material has been plundered for the recently released on video Boys And Girls?
   Here are a few clues: aged 12 Jennifer and Ryan meet on a plane and hate each other. Six years later they meet again at high school and still don't get on. Two years fly by and they meet again at college and this time they become best friends. They can confide things to each other that they can't tell their roommates. And then there's that matter of the one night when they got a little carried away and the friendship border was crossed...
   Depending on your age, dear reader, you'll either be going 'that sounds like your average high school romance' or 'that sounds like a blatant rip-off of Rob Reiner's and Nora Ephron's fantastic 1989 comedy When Harry Met Sally'. It doesn't matter which is closest to your view at this point as both are correct.
   It's college, and all the boys and girls are having fun except our two leads and their respective flatmates. The very screwed-up Amy (Detmer) wants to break off with her ever-so-respectable and uptight boyfriend Ryan (Prinze). But, worried that in order to prove that they should stay together he'll once again show her his 'compatibility flow chart', she asks her flatmate Jennifer (Forlani) to break the news. But Jennifer and Ryan have met once or twice before and have never got on that well as they have different views of life, living, sex and commitment.
   Their friendship trundles along about as elegantly as the trolley buses they travel around on. Their views stereotyped and their characters barely two-dimensional let alone three, especially that of Prinze, who is playing the straight-laced engineer opposite Fordini as the promiscuous literature student. Light relief comes in the shape of his flatmate Hunter (Biggs) who is desperate for romance and fails miserably at every turn.
   There are moments of inspiration in this tired retread, most notably Jennifer's and Ryan's revisits to their past where they enter their own flashbacks and comment on their behaviour. But the one or two examples of this at the beginning of the film are soon abandoned in favour of the tried and traditional formulaic storytelling techniques and classic narrative of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, with that extra added element that only the worst of Hollywood movies provide (see also Keeping The Faith); girl gives up her values and her plans for an exciting career for dull boy.