Get Over It

Movie Information

Genre: Comedy
Director: Tommy O'haver
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Martin Short, Swoosie Kurtz, Ed Begley Jr.
Rated: PG-13

It’s called Get Over It and before the end if the first reel, I definitely was. What we have here is your basic teen comedy (and one apparently aimed at members of remedial adolescence classes) that gamely and lamely tries to reinvent the form by grafting a lot of frighteningly obvious hipness on top of its echt-Gidgetness. The plot — a term which decidedly dignifies this witless morass of situations — is as follows: Berke Lawrence (Ben Foster, Liberty Heights) gets dumped by girlfriend Allison (newcomer Melissa Sagemiller) and tries to win her back with the help of best friend Felix’s (Colin Hanks, Whatever It Takes) little sister, Kelly (Kirsten Dunst, The Virgin Suicides) — who isn’t quite so little anymore. While that might sound vaguely familiar to the average viewer, Get Over It screenwriter R. Lee Fleming Jr. (She’s All That) has come up with a plot twist: Kelly is really in love with Berke herself! Now, that is a shocker, isn’t it? Even more of a surprise is the fact that it takes Berke three-quarters of the film to realize this, and most of the rest of the film to figure out that Kelly is the girl for him. Frankie and Annette would have been embarrassed by this material 30 years ago. The idea seems to have been that Get Over It would score by taking this sitcom load of clams and decking it out with clever, quirky touches and off-the-wall, frequently tasteless, humor. (Yes, the spectre of There’s Something About Mary — a film with much to answer for — looms large over modern comedy yet again.) And for the first five minutes, it seems like it might. When a famous line from Casablanca is parodied (“Of all the lunchrooms in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”), the film seems briefly savvy in terms of pop culture. When Berke and Allison break up and the credits are played out with him walking through a deliberately ghastly production number of “Love Will Keep Us Together,” it at least seems to have cleverly varied the onscreen troubadors of There’s Something About Mary. (Not that the idea was all that original in There’s Something About Mary. Anyone remember Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye in Cat Ballou?) Unfortunately, the film spirals into sitcom tedium immediately afterwards and no amount of ersatz outrageous jiggery-pokery can keep it afloat, especially since you’ve seen it all before. The more charitable-minded might conclude that Martin Short’s high-school drama teacher was inspired by the drama teacher from the TV series Square Pegs, but the line between inspired-by and ripped-off-from is a thin one that the film quickly crosses. Even then, Get Over It tentatively hedges its bets: As if fearful of offending anyone, Short’s classically bitchy gay character suddenly has late-in-the-film references to an offscreen wife who is too drunk to attend his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Like much of the film’s injections of “outrageousness,” this seems grafted on at the last moment. Nearly everything in Get Over It either seems too calculated or completely misfires. A great deal of the film’s last section is devoted to Short’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and while his musical atrocity on the Bard is bad, it’s never bad enough to be genuinely funny. It’s just bad. To add to the film’s seemingly desperate attempts at retreading the overly familiar, someone decided to design the whole mess in a confusingly retro style. While very much placed in modern times, the sets and props tend to smack of an earlier era (everyone lives in houses that seem to have been rented from The Brady Bunch). This sort of jumbled time frame has worked for other directors — David Lynch in Blue Velvet, Tim Burton in Edward Scissorhands — where it served some point. Here, it just looks peculiar. The only good thing about Get Over It is Kirsten Dunst, but she’s hardly able to overcome the material. It’s the sort of movie that makes you long for comedy classics like Dude, Where’s My Car?.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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