Okay, so I have a not-so-secret crush on Freddie Prinze Jr. And trashy teen rom-coms are like crack to me. So in theory, Boys and Girls should have been a perfect bit of guilty pleasure on a rainy Wednesday evening. Instead, I can unhesitatingly say that it is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.
The funny thing is, I actually saw it in theaters years ago – you might remember it being billed under the tagline “Warning: Sex Changes Everything” – but its awfulness seemed to have slipped my mind. The plot is your basic, run-of-the-mill, When Harry Met Sally rip-off: Nerdy Boy and Cool Girl bump into each other repeatedly through those painful teen years, and strike angry sparks each time. But in college, Nerdy Boy gets a haircut and contact lenses and the two become unlikely Best Friends Forever… UNTIL that one fateful night!
You know the rest. The thing is, Freddie – bless his heart – really can’t pull off “nerd”. Stick to “jock with a heart of gold”, sweetie. As for Claire Forlani, well, there’s a reason she hasn’t been heard from since Antitrust. But the real problem isn’t the acting, it’s the script. I love a cheesy teen romance, but they are what they are, and this script tried far too hard to be something more: clever, moving, philosophical even, about the meaning of love and the things that make relationships work. It failed. Miserably. Somewhere, Nora Ephron is cringing at the messy re-hashing of her “can men and women really just be friends” masterpiece. I feel your pain, Nora.
And one last thing – I haven’t spent a ton of time in the Bay Area, but I’m pretty sure that the Marin Headlands aren’t within walking distance of the
Why, Freddie, why?