Directed By Gil Junger
By: Eric G.
Julia Stiles is luminous on camera. She plays Katarina, a modern day shrew into all-girl bands like The Raincoats and poets like Sylvia Plath. She doesn’t go out with boys because she’s a bitter yet idealistic teenager with enough wit to back up her bad attitude. The plot borrows the most elemental themes from Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew, but this time it’s set in a suburban high school. Katarina’s father quite likes the fact that his oldest daughter doesn’t date because he holds it over the head of Kat’s little sister Bianca: She can’t date until Kat does, so guess what? Everyone secretly plots to set Kat up with the boy daring enough to tame her because everyone wants a piece of Bianca. Bollocks. It’s so hard to swallow the fact that people find Katarina repulsive in any way: she’s utterly and completely drop-dead gorgeous, she’s obviously bright, and she listens to decent music. I mean, I sat through ninety minutes of mindless TGIF humor just to watch her.
Heath Ledger plays Patrick Verona, the Australian “bad boy” hand picked to tame the shrew. Apparently, he’s the only guy at this school with a brain because he’s the only “freak” they could find who was even remotely willing. Granted there’s bribery involved (you’ll never guess what that leads to), but Patrick doesn’t seem too concerned with the $50 bucks. The plot then lazily proceeds to walk through every teen and high school cliched storyline imaginable but it’s spotted with moments of minor wit. Gil Junger knew his audience was built in with the whole Boy Meets World and Sabrina- The Teenage Witch crowd. This film casts a much wider net than some of the harder edged teen flicks like Cruel Intentions or Go because it’s silly and predictable and aimed at younger teens. I think I laughed out loud three times, but Julia Stiles was worth the price of admission. I’d even see it again.