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American Teen

by DeAnn Welker July 23, 2008 1:46 pm
American Teen Whether you are old enough to remember and love The Breakfast Club or whether you're a teen still looking for your own version of that seminal teen film, American Teen will most likely strike a chord. It's just like Breakfast Club, see? Except that it's for a new generation. Oh, yeah, and it's real -- as in, it's a documentary. Which means it's most likely going to be a lot more touching and funny in its own way than The Breakfast Club was.

The trailer starts off by introducing its "characters" -- all seniors in the same high school in a small, conservative town in Indiana. The trailer identifies them as "the jock," "the geek," "the rebel," "the princess," and the "heartthrob." You know, sort of like, "a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal." Anyway, this time we do get more than a Saturday of detention (that might not be as exciting in documentary form as it was as a movie). We get to watch these five seniors deal with basic adolescent life: trying to fit in, trying to get a scholarship, trying to find a girlfriend. We even get to see the heartthrob fall for the rebel (she tells us, in a hilarious bit, that most girls would give "their left boob" to go on a date with him). I'm not sure if the director chose five kids to follow and just followed them for a year, or if she followed more kids and chose to use these five because they worked the best for the movie she were trying to make. But apparently, whatever she did worked. It was one of the highlights of Sundance, according to critics, and it's only continued to generate buzz since then. In other words, even if you think you don't like documentaries, give this one a shot. You just might discover these real kids are even better than Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald.

Reviews By People Who've Actually Seen It:
Variety
Rotten Tomatoes

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