Title: Drive Me Crazy
Released: 1999

Good Friday morning! You’ve almost survived that worst week of weeks, the dreaded 5-day-week after a longish holiday break. Congratulations! It’s too early to crack open a champ can (or so they tell me), but never fear. That doesn’t mean it’s too early to goof off. Lucky for you, I’ve spent the last few days hopped up on Nyquil, watching movies on Netflix, and last night I revisited that gem of high school dramedy, Drive Me Crazy.

The So-Called Plot

Nicole is on the Centennial Committee, the group of popular kids who are in charge of planning the big dance and celebration for the high school’s centennial anniversary, to which alumni and community leaders will be invited. And they plan the whole thing during their lunch periods, with no faculty oversight. I’ve got to say, before I go any farther, that we were hardly able to plan when to take a bathroom break without having at least an assistant principal up our butts, let alone some massive event with a gazillion dollar budget and all sorts of publicity.

Anyway, so the kids are planning this big dance, and Nicole doesn’t have a date! Her crush, the star basketball player, ditched her for the rival team’s cheerleader. So she does what any girl would do and asks her next-door neighbor, ex-BFF and current loser-hottie Chase to go with her. Of course, they have to make it believable, so they have to start dating weeks before the dance. Chase has just broken up with his bitchy, earnest ’90s grrlfriend (who makes me think of the Dar Williams’ song, “The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed”), because he won’t go liberate lab rats with her. He agrees to the scam because moping and leaving rambling voicemails hasn’t helped get Darcie back, and he’s desperate. And of course, spoiler alert, Nicole and Chase fall for each other, have a big misunderstanding thanks to Nicole’s meddling, bitchy BFF, and end up back together.

Casting Callback

Melissa Joan Hart as Nicole

I think the generational divide can be measured not by what year you were born, but whether or not you think “Clarissa” or “Sabrina” when you see Melissa Joan Hart.

Adrian Grenier as Chase

Is he hot? I don’t even know anymore. He was definitely adorable in this movie, but these days he looks like subscribes to the Colin Farrell School of Personal Hygiene.

Susan May Pratt as Alicia

It’s a movie from 1999. The Actor’s Guild required all teen movies to hire Susan May Pratt.

Ali Larter as Dulcie

After playing a goth-ish, clove-smoking lab-rat liberator, and wearing a whipped-cream bikini in Varsity Blues, the movie that wishes it was Friday Night Lights (the show), it was only a matter of time before Ali Larter ended up a single mom with a psycho killer alternate personality.

Chemistry Grade: B-

I’ll admit I graded Nicole and Chase on a curve because I can’t not like Melissa Joan Hart, and I want to play with Adrian Grenier’s hair because it actually looks clean, but there really wasn’t much chemistry between them. I remember swooning over this movie — or at least over Grenier — when I was 18, though.

I DID give a massive fist pump for Designated Dave and Dee Vine, especially when he finds out she’s his internet girlfriend. I wonder for how many ill-advised chatroom meet ups this movie is responsible?

Cliché Count: 56 (I think … I didn’t get Erin to check my math)

  • Embarrassing parents – 3
  • Pranks – 2
  • A/V Club nerds – 12
  • Emo/goth/rebel/hippie kids – 7
  • Stern, dorky principal – 2
  • Jock crush – 3 (+2 for slo-mo shots)
  • Us vs. Them – 5
  • Party – 2
  • Drunken yearbook defacing – 1
  • Mopey breakup scenes – 6
  • Makeover/shopping montage – 1
  • Divorced parents/no-show dad – 3
  • Male bonding through sports – 1
  • Cruising the strip – 1
  • Two-faced BFF – 4
  • The big dance – 1

Soundtrack: Backstreet’s Back, All Right!

This soundtrack is straight off the late ’90s top 40 countdown, with appearances by both Britney Spears AND the Backstreet Boys. All right! There’re also a couple of appearances by a real live band, The Donnas, a la 10 Things I Hate About You. Do movies even have real bands in them anymore? I haven’t seen anything in theaters since Harry Potter, so I have no idea (babysitters are expensive!). If they don’t, they totally should! It makes the portrayal of real high school America so much more realistic (ha).

Slumber Party Potential: Goes Great with Marshmallow Popcorn and Champers

Because really, what doesn’t? This is the perfect background slumber party movie, because nothing really happens. As long as you make sure everyone looks up from their gossip mags to watch the pepper-spray scene, there’s not much you can’t fill in if you haven’t seen it before.

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.