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    10 Things I Hate About You
    Film Review - Siobhan Coleman - 16/7/99

    Director - Gil Junger
    Starring - Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Heath Ledger and Andrew Keegan

    Based around the trials and tribulations of select stereotypical American teens, where this week’s biggest dilemma involves “Who am I taking to the prom?”, “10 Things I Hate About You” is a delightful modern adaptation of the ill-favoured Shakespearean comedy “The Taming of the Shrew”.

    Popular Bianca Stratford is being unhappily kept from the dating world by her overprotective father, until her feisty and opinionated Plath-reading older sister, Katarina snags herself a man.

    However, there is one slight problem. Dating is the last thing on Kat’s mind and the common scenario of the puny nerd vs. the conceited rich boy commences, as her younger sister’s admirers bend over backwards in their attempts to find someone of the opposite sex brave enough to woo the fiery Kat.

    Enter Patrick Verona, the chain-smoking new bad boy on the block, sporting an Australian accent, who, after much coaxing, agrees to take up the challenge of cutting the claws off of Kat.

    Bring on the fun! - which starts here. The strength of “10 Things I Hate About You” lies in its easy-going, light-hearted humour guaranteed to make everyone smile.

    Unfortunately however, it is greatly lacking in originality and heavily recycles the key ingredients of other popular teen movies currently hot on the movie market, such as “The Faculty”, “Can’t Hardly Wait”, “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” - the list is endless.

    The idea of a teen cast adapted to a classic storyline is similar to the recent “She’s All That”, which was derived from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. The stereotypical characters include the rebel, the stud, the nerd and the quirky principal - who in this case is a closet erotic novelist!

    Despite possessing a predictable air, these features do not weigh the movie down, as the movie manages to maintain charm and positivity through its irresistible wit, steady plot and onscreen magic between the various characters.

    The youthful cast includes weedy “Third Rock from the Sun” star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is credible as the desperate, sensitive geek, and buff teen pin-up Andrew Keegan who plays the intensely vain, pretty boy (a little too well). Newcomer Julia Stiles stands out as the shrewd lead character “Kat”, in a performance that is realistic, subtle and utterly convincing.

    All in all, the cast is convincing in their interactions with one another, in regard to student “status” and teen prejudice, and especially in their depictions of the frustrations and anxieties that adolescence brings.

    A special highlight in “10 Things I Hate About You” is the recurring and welcome appearance of the legendary pop/rock band “Letters to Cleo”, who contribute to most of the contemporary, catchy pop soundtrack, and which perfectly captures the essence of the overall cheerful and romantic mood of the film.

    Because of its simplicity, this movie will definitely appeal mainly to teenagers, who will without a doubt recognize characters from the film in their own high school, friends and even themselves.

    “10 Things I Hate About You” is suitable for anyone ready to unwind, put their feet up and let this laid-back film do what it does best - entertain.

    If viewed by those in the future, I’m afraid “10 Things I Hate About You” would not be a relevant snapshot of the teenager in 1999, but rather the way in which the world interprets the genius of William Shakespeare and celebrates how, centuries later, the issues his works deal with can still be applicable to life today.


    Published with permission from NZine