Boys And Girls

Like one of those blind, colorless fish that live at the bottom of the ocean, the teen romantic comedy seems driven to seek out new depths in order to survive. For those who thought the dispiriting Whatever It Takes found the bottom, here's Boys And Girls, a college-based romance so perfunctory that only the attractive San Francisco locations register. Opening unpromisingly with an excited 12-year-old girl announcing the arrival of her first period, Boys stars Freddie Prinze Jr. as a bespectacled Berkeley engineering student who strikes up an ongoing friendship and infatuation with a bug-eyed bohemian classics major (the singularly unappealing Claire Forlani, channeling the spirit of Calista Flockhart). Over the course of their college career, the two date others (including bleached-out Blair Witch Project star Heather Donahue and Alyson Hannigan) but always return to one another. Could they be falling in love? The film takes a lot longer to answer that question than anyone watching it will, but it fails to stir up any interest along the way. She's All That director Robert Iscove knows how to frame an attractive shot, and even finds an opportunity to reprise his previous film's superfluous techno-pop dance routine, with Apollo Four Forty taking the place of Fatboy Slim and a club taking the place of the prom. That moment, however, arrives amidst a sea of scenes in which Prinze stares blankly, occasionally contributing a line of witless dialogue, while Forlani succumbs to a variety of facial tics. Prinze, Forlani, and American Pie pastry-fucker Jason Biggs turn in undistinguished performances, unaided by a script credited to "The Drews." The name may bring to mind a creepy secret society, but it's actually shorthand for Andrew Lowery and Andrew Miller, best known for writing the Dennis Rodman action-adventure flop Simon Sez. For creating the 10th-generation Hepburn and Tracy sex-sparring dialogue that dominates most scenes in Boys And Girls, they should have their word processors confiscated and thrown off the Golden Gate Bridge, with Boys' negative, if not the Drews themselves, following closely behind.

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