Teen Comedy

[6.0] The ‘Nerds’ return for a slightly inferior sequel centering around a fraternity conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where the adversarial Alpha Beta fraternity frames the nerds for a crime they didn’t commit and tries to get them expelled from the fraternal order. Robert Carradine returns as the lead nerd, but Anthony Edwards takes a cameo role (maybe he was busy shooting Top Gun?) this …

[6.5] Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character, an anxiety-ridden, pretentious, troubled — well, normal, I guess — teenager who does lots of teenagery things, like having sex for the first time and trying to get into college. Watching Lady Bird is like being a fly on the wall inside the character’s lower-middle-class home. The central conflict is between Lady Bird and her mother, played compellingly …

[5.0] Two frat guys take a nerdy kid to Palm Springs for spring vacation after the kid’s dad offers them his condo for the stay. And if they can get the kid laid, the dad will also install a hot tub and jacuzzi at the frat house. You now know everything you need to know about Fraternity Vacation, really. The two frat guys engage in a ‘who …

[7.0] Once they’re displaced from their dorm by the college’s alpha-male fraternity, a bunch of science geeks take it upon themselves to create a new fraternity and challenge the college’s preferential treatment of jocks. Revenge of the Nerds contains its fair share of puerile humor, sight gags, and obligatory boob shots, but these ploys aren’t what make the movie work. There’s just enough sincerity to …

[4.0] A bunch of teenaged waiters at a Jewish kids’ summer camp embark in sexcapades and other whacky shenanigans in this Animal House wannabe. Aside from a charismatic turn from young Dennis Quaid, it turns out to be just another summer camp comedy. You know the kind. Someone puts speed in the cafeteria food, smut in the projector on family film night, and farm animals in …

[6.5] A bunch of teenagers rally to save their music store from being taken over by a corporate chain. Empire Records takes place almost entirely inside its namesake and features an ensemble of talented young actors, including Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, and Renee Zellweger. It’s a good cast all around, but my favorite is Ethan Embry, who exhibits a goofy charm in his asides to …

[5.0] A girl from the San Fernando valley (Deborah Foreman) falls for a city boy (Nicolas Cage), much to the chagrin of superficial friends. Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl hit the scene just as John Hughes began directing his string of iconic teen flicks, and was probably just as influential in setting the 80s teen trend as any of Hughes’ work. The film is beloved for …

[7.0] Move over, Lindsay Lohan (or at least flail further down the gutter.) There’s a new mean girl in town, and her name is Emma Stone. Easy A is the perfect vehicle for Stone, who shows natural charm and considerable range as a highschooler who decides to lie about losing her virginity. Before she realizes what she’s done, she’s created a whole whorish persona for …

[4.0] David Mickey Evans, the director of Radio Flyer and The Sandlot turns in a teen sex comedy that reeks of ’90s made-for-cable or direct-to-video. Three high school dudes decide they can make a lot of money by filming a porno without their school or their parents finding out, and without getting murdered by a rival team of professional pornographers. Whackiness ensues. What Barely Legal …

[8.0] Hailee Steinfeld (Oscar nominee for the Coen Brothers’ True Grit remake) stars as a high school girl on the edge of a nervous breakdown when she discovers her best and only friend has begun dating her brother. Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig beautifully captures the isolation, anxiety, desperation, and pervasive helplessness of adolescence here, and without letting the film get too dark and dreary. Supporting player …

1 2 3