Drive Me Crazy review

Right then. Teen Romantic Comedy 101. The basic elements of any teen romantic comedy are a) a couple who initially hate each other, then slowly grow to love each other; b) a supporting cast of geeks and jocks, who provide most of the laughs; c) a suitably `hip' soundtrack, (featuring, say, Britney Spears); and d) a big prom climax. It looks like the makers of Drive Me Crazy passed their exam with flying colours. Trouble is, they were looking over someone else's shoulder.

It's not surprising that the factory-produced result should be - - gasp - - slightly unoriginal. But Drive Me Crazy deserves expulsion for shamelessly blatant rip-offery, most notably of last year's She's All That, itself a lame dilution of Pygmalion. Except here, it's the GIRL who transforms the BOY! And how.

In order for bad kid Chase to become a feasible date for happy fashion victim Nicole, he has to change not only his appearance (courtesy of The Gap), but also ditch most of his political convictions and learn to love team sports. However, it's not the fact that Chase is forced to go through this which really grates, but that he realises he's happier being a bland, apathetic moron. This rather dubious ethical message is driven even further home when the audience is encouraged to frown on people (read freaks) who oppose testing on animals because, hey, if we can't test on lab rats how will we ever cure cancer and save people like Chase's poor, dead mommy?

If this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, then don't be tempted to look to lead girl Melissa Joan Hart, aka Sabrina The Teenage Witch, for the sweetener - - because you'll probably choke on it. Hart's limited small-screen charms don't survive on the big 'un, with her failed attempts to be `cute' limited to squinting a bit and wrinkling her freckled nose. Which is enough to make you want to bring back trial by drowning.

A largely botched attempt to convince us that Melissa Joan Hart is a viable big-screen star, Drive Me Crazy also fails due to its utter disregard for even a semblance of originality and its rather offensive sense of morality. On this occasion, it's best to just bunk off.

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