I decided that I wanted to start another series on this website, this one being “films that have not aged well”. And I wanted to begin with the mother of all “didn’t age well” films: 1999’s Never Been Kissed.
Nothing about this film is okay now and shouldn’t have been okay then. Let me set the scene for you: Josie is a young reporter, about 25, who is chosen to go undercover at a high school to get a story. Josie, pretending to be a 17 year old, develops a crush on an actual 17 year old AND her teacher is clearly attracted to her even though he knows literally nothing about her being a 25 year old journalist. NOTHING ABOUT THIS FILM IS OKAY.
To add to the discomfort, every man in this film comments on the high school girls, saying things along the lines of “girls didn’t look like that when I was in high school”. I’m sorry, what? These are all girls who are underage. Why is it necessary to have nearly every male character comment on the way they look? It’s creepy.
Every interaction Josie has with her teacher, Sam Coulson, is cringe-worthy. At one point, he’s watching her dance on stage at a Jamaican club. She’s slapping her ass and he’s smiling. Also, this entire scene feels so out of place for this film. It feels like somebody told the makers of this film that there were too many white people and they needed to fix it.
In another instance, Sam is confiding in Josie, who he thinks is his 17 YEAR OLD STUDENT, about his trouble, romantically. He knows what he’s saying is not appropriate. He even comments that at one point in the conversation. But, that doesn’t seem to stop him.
Josie’s brother, Rob, even re-enrolls in high school because he wants a do-over. He then, gets involved with a 16 year old girl.
Nobody in this film has a moral compass, and it is infuriating. This film should have been named “How to Get Fired From Your Job as a High School Teacher”. It’s such a shame that this cast is filled with so many people who went on to have very successful careers.
In the film, Rob makes a comment to Josie when they are both at a high school party: “I’ll see you around the cell block, Mrs. Robinson”. And that, I feel, sums up the entire film.