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Kids in America
2005 - PG-13 - 91 Mins.
Director: Josh Stolberg
Producer: Scott M. Rosenfelt
Written By: Josh Stolberg and Andrew Shaifer
Starring: Gregory Smith, Stephanie Sherrin, Julie Bowen, Nicole Ritchie, Caitlin Wachs
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.kidsinamericamovie.com/
   
It was a slow weekend afternoon so I decided to attend a film. I looked in the listings and having already seen most of what my local theatre had to offer, I saw a film titled 'Kids in America' listed that I had not heard of. I decided that I might as well see it. It can't be that bad, I thought. Boy, was I wrong.

A movie that elicits a sense of boredom that seemingly has no end, 'Kids in America' easily ranks as one of the worst films of the year. From its condescendingly preachy tone, below sitcom level production values, to the horrid writing, acting, and directing, the film is one dull piece of "art" (and I use that term loosely as possible).

The plot goes something like this: a rebellious teen (Gregory Smith from TV's "Everwood") organizes a protest of what he believes are the totalitarian rules and regulations enforced by his high school, most notably one Principal Weller (Julie Bowen, 'Joe Somebody'). Joining him include his requisite love interest (Stephanie Sherrin), a cheerleader not as ditzy as she looks (Caitlin Wachs), another cheerleader even ditzier than she looks (Nicole Ritchie, yeah THAT one) and other assorted "kids" (a stretch considering the actors portraying them are in their 20's). Mind-numbingly obvious diatribes on free speech and other so-called "important to teen" topics ensue, complete with a montage of real teens who stood up to their school playing over the closing credits that is so pretentious what I assume is supposed to be inspiring ends up inane and pretentious.

The film puports to be a message film that encourages teens to stand up for their rights but obviously fails to respect its audience enough to go about it in an intelligent manner. The film repeatedly resorts to comic pratfalls in an attempt to garner laughs while promoting its message. If that wasn't bad enough, it inserts numerous scenes unrelated to, well, anything, that pay homage to other better movies (not that it takes much). I counted twenty such scenes that mimic such films as 'Cruel Intentions', 'Wild Things', 'Summer Catch', 'The Lady and the Tramp,' and 'Say Anything,' (There's even a kissing scene that attempts to break the record for the longest on-screen kiss in movie history, held by the John Cusack film). Writer-director Josh Stolberg (writer of the upcoming 'Piranha' remake and 'Evan Almighty', the sequel to 'Bruce Almighty' starring Steve Carell) wants to have his cake and eat it too. Instead of throwing in countless pointless scenes such as the aforementioned homages, he would have been better off making certain he had a fully-developed central concept.

Not that the performances do anything to help matters. Gregory Smith is as bland and bored as the audience is sure to be and shares zero chemistry with romantic interest Sherrin, who also fails to impress with her by-the-numbers performance. The same could be said for Bowen and Wachs, who do nothing with their respective roles. By far the worst offender though is Ritchie, who has a fingernails on the chalkboard screen presence and an obvious disdain for having to play second fiddle to anyone.

'Kids in America' is a jumbled catastrophe of a film that should be avoided at all costs.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Offensive and completely without value.  Should never have been released.
  0 out of 5 stars

 
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