Yesterday’s movie: 10 Things I Hate About You

Most teen movies go for the easy standard laughs. Writers Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith, though, decided to see if they could transport Shakespeare into the mileau of the last days of the 20th century American high school. And they succeeded, I think; Colin Jacobson has an opposing opinion though. Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik star as the desirable but out of reach sisters and Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play the boys who pursue them in this update of Taming of the Shrew. Larry Miller stretches a little to play the girls’ single father, an OB/GYN struggling to accept the departure of his wife several years before and accept that his daughters are becoming the same women as the young pregnant girls he sees in his office every day. Ledger, still with his natural dark hair (as opposed to the dyed blonde he’s worn since in The Patriot and A Knight’s Tale), is quite good and has a hilarious scene singing Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You to Stiles accompanied by the school marching band in front of the afterschool athletic crowd.

Marshall Heyman, reviewing for the Daily Princetonian, makes a good point: “Nowhere in the film does any character account for 10 things he or she hates about someone else. In fact, nowhere in the film is the number 10 even mentioned.” There are lots of Shakespeare references though, including the girls’ family name and the prom theme.

Interestingly, some unknown person has put the complete script online, and so is Shakespeare’s original; for a laugh, see the ultracondensed version. Sidenote: this is another film produced by my non-relative Andrew Lazar