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Movie Review

"I really, really liked it!" That’s what I heard an almost-teen girl gush to her mother as they walked out of the theater. Those weren’t my sentiments exactly, but I’m no ‘N Sync fan. She obviously was. Lance Bass and Joey Fatone of the staggeringly popular pop band ‘N Sync star in this film, and their presence alone will make it a pre-teen fave. The rest of the civilized world will just think of it as movie-lite.

The plot is either tried-and-true or driven-into-the-ground, depending on how you look at it. Kevin meets the perfect girl on the Chicago "L" (elevated rail). They chat madly for a couple of minutes, bond over the Cubbies, and recite all the American presidents from Washington to Bush. It’s true love for Kevin and Abbey. Oops, Kevin doesn’t know Abbey’s name. The two part ways with nary a phone number or first name between them. All that’s missing is a silky boy-band remake of the Chi-Lites’ song "Have You Seen Her." Kevin posts flyers all over downtown hoping his mystery match will call. She does. As do hundreds of other love-struck women groping for romance. Kevin’s a star. But his girl is lost among the mortals. How will he ever find her? Will buddies Eric, Rob and Randy help, or just get in the way?

positive elements: Kevin’s friends mess things up pretty bad for him by taking advantage of his celebrity and using it to pick up girls. They come around in the end, though, and realize that they’ve done the wrong thing. Friends look out for your best interests, they don’t ride your coattails for their own benefit. That’s a good lesson to learn. There’s also an underlying idea here that’s worth mentioning. Kevin "lays it on the line" to get what he wants out of life. He’s tired of "not closing the deal," of letting people take advantage of him and not making his wishes known. Take it too far and you’re self-absorbed, but well-balanced confidence and determination make a lot of difference in life.

sexual content: Virtually none. Kevin and Abbey kiss (oh, you knew they were going to get together!). Kevin imagines himself on stage naked (only his bare chest is shown). And Rod squirts mouthwash spray down his pants.

violent content: Sammy Sosa fouls a fastball into Eric’s crotch. Rod kicks his date while trying to show off for her by singing and playing his guitar (she ends up with a broken nose and ankle). Kevin angrily hits Eric in the face.

crude or profane language: Only a couple of mild profanities, but crass words and phrases such as "crapped out," "freakin,'" "bass ackwards," "gimp," and "screwed" all pop up in dialogue.

drug and alcohol content: Kevin and his buddies hang out at a bar. Kevin is seen drinking a beer on one occasion.

other negative elements: Rod makes a big show out of being a wild and crazy rock ‘n’ roller. He’s deliberately—and loudly—flatulent. He kicks his equipment while performing. Also, even though they repent in the end, Kevin’s friends display an appalling lack of respect for women. They just want to "pick up chicks." Were they raised on a concert tour?

conclusion: Give Lance and Joey credit for not cramming their movie with foul language and sex. They’ve presented their target audience of 8- to 14-year-old girls with a sweet romantic comedy that’s clean enough to shame 90 percent of what passes for prime-time TV these days, much less big-screen yukfests. Kudos for that. But if ever there was a story that focused more on the idea of love rather than its substance, I’d be hard pressed to find it. Kevin and Abbey fall in love because, A) they’re cute, B) they both like baseball, and C) they both excel at historical trivia. Therefore, Kevin and Abbey will live happily every after. As long as the two of them are within subway reach of Wrigley Field. It’s fun sometimes to fantasize about meeting that special someone and falling madly in love before 10 a.m., but this stuff is as gooey as a Backstreet Boys, er, make that an ‘N Sync ballad. Don’t let your teens fall for the superficiality of it all. If you decide to let them eat this candy, make sure it doesn’t ruin their appetite for dinner.

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