Film gives new twist to a very old story

Review: Baltimore's own Sisqo is a bonus in `Get Over It.'

March 10, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

It's a staple as old as the love story itself: A guy is crazy for a girl who no longer desires him, and he's so busy feeling sorry for himself that he doesn't notice the even better girl who'd take him in a second.

That's the essential plot of "Get Over It," a surprisingly funny and good-hearted teen comedy that Miramax tried to sneak into theaters this week without any grumpy old critics getting a look at it.

Usually, that's a sure sign the film's in trouble. But not here: "Get Over It" is a delightful and exuberant bit of romantic comedy and, as a bonus, it breathes new life into a pair of '70s musical chestnuts long off our culture's radar screens.

The first is "Love Will Keep Us Together," mouthed by singer Vitamin C (the audience hears the original Captain and Tenille version) over a terrific opening sequence. Lovelorn Berke Landers (Ben Foster) has just been dumped by the girlfriend of his dreams, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), and is trailed on his lonely walk down her street by a seemingly impromptu garage band, led by Vitamin C -- a bit of choreography that lets the audience know this film presents a new twist on an old theme.

The second is Elvis Costello's "Allison," which is used throughout as a sort of mating call for Allison the character, who has dumped Berke in favor of Brit boy toy Striker (Shane West). All accent and attitude, Striker keeps showing up Berke; when both serenade her with Costello's tune, guess who does the flashier job.

Berke is obsessed with getting Allison back -- so obsessed that he fails to notice Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), his best friend's kid sister. (That's some high school, where a kid trades down for Kirsten Dunst). Kelly likes Berke just fine, and resolves to do what she can to help him -- even if that means reuniting him with Allison.

All this is done against the backdrop of a school play in which the principals are cast: an awful musical version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." What's being played out is yet another riff on that centuries-old bit of whimsy.

"Get Over It" keeps coming up with pleasant surprises that can't help but leave a smile on the face of anyone who's ever endured unrequited love. And its uniformly spirited cast -- including Baltimore's own Sisqo as a friend of Berke's who comes up with some unexpected dance moves -- helps make this one of the most pleasant surprises of this movie-going year.

`Get Over It'

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Sisqo Directed by Tommy O'Haver Released by Miramax Films Rated PG-13 (Crude/sexual humor, teen drinking, adult language) Running time 86 minutes

Sun score ***

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