Get Over It
*½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B
starring Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Melissa Sagemiller, Sisqó
screenplay by R. Lee Fleming, Jr.
directed by Tommy O'Haver
by Bill Chambers One not-so-magic Christmas, I gave a girl on whom I had a crush a box of Frosted Flakes. I attached a lovey-dovey card that looked more suited to a wedding present and went all out with the tissue paper and ribbons. The girl's best friend was at the unveiling and later said something I'd never heard before but have quoted many times since: "Well-wrapped garbage is still garbage." Get Over It director Tommy O'Haver has embellished a dire teen-movie script with Broadway stylings and widescreen lensing--but well-wrapped garbage is still garbage. This isn't failed filmmaking so much as failed sleight-of-hand.
Get Over It stars relative newcomer/"Freaks and Geeks" vet Ben Foster, an actor with an endearingly rubbery face but a surprisingly opaque humanity; we're talking a Jason Biggs-level ratio of funny face to morose temperament. As a dumpee grieving his relationship, he's so intense that only the genre is keeping him from murder-suicide. The film opens with Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) breaking up with long-time boyfriend Berke (Foster), at which point Vitamin C and various village sweethearts materialize to serenade him with Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together," advancing from behind like Buñuellian love troops. It's unexpected and energetic, but when you get right down to it, it's just an opening-credits sequence--it doesn't do anything except happen, and it ends far more predictably than it began, with Berke screaming into the camera in nightmare apoplexy.
This is the pattern of Get Over It, originally titled Getting Over Allison: familiar set-up, surreal interlude, anticlimax. (The problem, I think, is that Berke is clearly too tormented to have this rich fantasy life, and so the movie is imposing it on him in what feels like desperation.) Berke tries out for the school production of Shakespeare's, uh, "A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve", starring Allison as Hermia--and so does Allison's new boyfriend (Shane West), a faux-Brit member of a boy band who effortlessly scores the part of Hermia's suitor on the back of his burgeoning fame. Because Berke is no Olivier, how to get him the other male lead so that he may compete for Allison's affections both onstage and off? While the solution is certainly original, it's neither clever nor especially whimsical, and it has a whiff of racism to it (it involves nunchucks and an actor named Peter Wong).
Meanwhile, Berke is tutored in the iambic pentameter by the fetching Kelly. Kirsten Dunst plays her in a role so thankless and beneath her it had to be a favour or a debt repayment. Kelly falls for Berke, as it's the law of teen movies, but even an actress as winning as Dunst can't sell us on the appeal of Foster. We merely pity her. Get Over It is an almost complete waste of time. There is a charming moment I wish had been saved for a better movie, wherein Berke, ill-prepared for his singing audition, performs the Big Red commercial jingle (of course, the filmmakers undermine its beautiful spontaneity by ensuring that someone in Berke's sightline is wearing a Big Red T-shirt), and the movie gets a priceless if dubious reaction shot out of Coolio. And I have to hand it to O'Haver that when the play-within-the-film inevitably goes haywire, with its cast scrambling to make their improvisations sound organic, it recalls every pitiful excuse for theatre I sat through in high school. Yet for most of its 86 minutes, the first and final five of which are glorified MTV videos, Get Over It is a snooze. All of the attempts at elevating it (see: faeries and an unhinged Martin Short) just take on the stink of the movie. Maybe it isn't so well-wrapped.
Through Buena Vista, Miramax has released Get Over It on a DVD that aims to please. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks healthy despite some edginess; Dunst fans will be happy to know that the fleeting bikini shots, frequently and conspicuously isolated when the film was being marketed to theatres last March, were authored with care. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is an active thing with carefully-placed music and effects. (Said faeries are given to swirling about the soundstage.) The LFE channel really kicks up the jams in the closing number between Sisqó, in his acting debut, and Vitamin C.
The disc's extras are ample. The section of eight deleted/extended scenes features much stronger optional commentary from O'Haver and screenwriter R. Lee Fleming, Jr. than does their delusional feature-length yak-track, as they explore the dilemma of having to bring in a PG-13 with the studio shouting "racier!" in one ear and the MPAA "tone it down!" in the other. I am disheartened to learn they were forced to overdub the word "masturbate"--spoken by a purported sex therapist, no less--with "polish the rocket."
As for the remaining supplements... Boy bands are parodied in the video for "Love Scud" by The Swingtown Lads, though Josie and the Pussycats sent up the phenomenon with greater precision. Vitamin C's "The Itch" video is overproduced claptrap. "Behind the Scenes of Get Over It" is too brief but has a not-displeasing candid vibe. Martin Short's make-up test consists of about two minutes' worth of silent footage, while Short's outtakes are seven minutes of footage we only wish were silent. Five original showtunes, three of which did not appear in the film, are accompanied by production stills. Lastly, you'll find trailers--for Bounce, Boys and Girls, Down to You, She's All That (also from a Fleming screenplay), 10 Things I Hate About You, and Get Over It's soundtrack album--on the Sneak Peeks page.
86 minutes; PG-13; 2.35:1 (16x9-enhanced); English DD 5.1; English SDH subtitles; DVD-9; Region One; Miramax