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Movie Review

1999 will be remembered as the year Hollywood turned a magnifying glass on high-school caste systems and held it in one spot for so long that it burned a hole in the subject matter. Smell it? That smoky odor is Drive Me Crazy, just one more film about teens from different worlds united as part of a scheme, only to fall genuinely in love just in time for the big dance.

Nicole (Hart) is a hyper-organized, image-obsessed member of the "in" crowd. The boy next door, Chase (Grenier), is a disaffected rebel who spouts counterculture rhetoric and gets his kicks putting orange dye in the school sprinkler system. She goes to pep rallies. He loathes the "flock" mentality. What could possibly bring them together? A desire to make each other's exes insanely jealous.

Drive Me Crazy (a title borrowed from a Britney Spears tune) is soft on alcohol use, relies too heavily on sexual banter and employs about two dozen profanities. On the plus side, a young man rescues a girl from date-rape and an estranged dad sacrifices something dear to reconnect with his daughter.

Elsewhere, the film tries to make positive social statements, but comes up short. While it reveres designated drivers, it also titters at teen drinking. A recovered bulimic shares the pain of ascending the social ladder, but seems happier and better off for having done so. And a nerd's foray into the potentially perilous arena of anonymous cyberdating yields fairy-tale results.

This is a bland stab at helping socially polarized teens develop mutual tolerance. But a reconstituted plot and a morally adrift Hart cause Drive Me Crazy to run out of gas early.

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