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Boys and Girls

Teendom's favorite cutie, Freddie Prinze Jr., takes his romantic angst to college.


Ryan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Jennifer (Claire Forlani) first met on a plane when they were 12. He's terrified of planes, she promptly tells him about her first period, so it's granted that they don't exactly click. Fast-forward to high school, where they bump into each other again. Now he's the school mascot, she's the homecoming queen. No sparks. Fast forward to college, where he's the geeky engineering major (yes, you read correctly) and she's the free-spirited, rocker-dating, Latin student. Finally, here they become friends, help each other with their love issues and despite their opposing viewpoints … well, take a guess.


Prinze, the BMOC in ''She's All That,'' is supposed to be an anal-retentive doofus. And while the pageboy cut (split down the middle) and glasses do little to mask his good looks, he plays against type surprisingly well, doing his best to rise above the cliché-filled script. Forlani, who was calm and luminous in the sluggish ''Meet Joe Black,'' still has ''proper British upbringing'' written all over her, so she's not really believable as an outrageous one-night-stander (she also looks too old for Prinze). Heather Donahue (showing a promising comedy career post-''Blair Witch'') and Amanda Detmer make a great supporting cast, but the show is stolen by an underused Jason Biggs. As Ryan's woman-chasing roommate, Biggs also gets the single funniest scene in the film, which you'll miss if you walk about before the credits roll.


''She's All That'' director Robert Iscove is back and using the same traits again. First we have the you-are-there flashback narration (''So I was watching him play with his band,'' a character might reflect in her dorm room, and suddenly she's sitting at the concert, still in her pajamas). Then there's the choreographed dance number. Disguised as a scene to show Ryan trying to loosen up at a ''foam club'' (like a car wash, soapy water douses the dancers), it's really an excuse to show off Iscove's choreography background by having all patrons wiggle simultaneously to Apollo Four Forty's ''Stop the Rock.'' It's cute and all, but the biggest faux pas Iscove makes is having Ryan and Jennifer take a ''walk'' from Berkeley … and miraculously wind up at the Golden Gate bridge.

Bottom Line

Prinze and Biggs do their best, but the script ultimately flunks 'em.