Do you guys remember Get Over It?
Released in the wake of She’s all That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed, American Pie (wow, 1999 was quite a year for these movies, eh?) and Bring it On, I think it’s been massively under-appreciated and (alas!) largely forgotten. When I mention it, most people my age either have not seen it or don’t remember it. I’m sorry? How could you forget?
It’s too bad, because this movie is loads of fun. In the vein of the iconic 10 Things I Hate About You (hello, Heath Ledger), with the musical and play-within-a-play aspects of Kiss Me, Kate, it’s a modernized parody/musicalization of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Which is to say, the leads are ok to look at but otherwise we just don’t really give a crap about them. They’re not driving the story and they learn nothing from it. Ben Foster as Berke Landers doesn’t appear to have any real skills, personality, or other redeeming qualities. And Kirsten Dunst with her dead eyes and wispy voice is basically unbearable as Kelly. And Shane West is just laying the groundwork for making you want to punch him in the face (as Berke eventually does, onstage) before he tries to pull a 180° in A Walk to Remember.
But don’t be fooled by the lame protaganists and wimpy love story at the center of this movie. Its awesomeness is all due to the weird, absurd, and magical world these characters are wandering through, from a surprising supporting cast (Mila Kunis? Zoe Saldana? SisQo? Colin Hanks? Carmen Electra? Ed Begley, Jr.?) to a soundtrack of ’70’s pop covered by ’90’s artists to–the real star of the show–a brilliant Martin Short, with frosted tips and goatee, as the delusional “head of the fine arts department and all that hoopla” Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates, composer/director of the play at the heart of the movie, “A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Eve, featuring 12 original songs.”
“Bill Shakespeare was a wonderful poet, but Burt Bacharach he ain’t.” So bad. So good:
Keep in mind, this movie is a decade ahead of Glee, Smash, and Pitch Perfect. High School Musical is still five years away. It beat Chicago and Moulin Rouge (though only by a couple of months) to the theaters. It even came out six months before the musical episode of Buffy aired. Get Over It occupies this weird transitional moment: the musical is about to make a huge comeback. Movie stars will once again be seriously singing and dancing, and be taken (kind of) seriously doing it. But it hasn’t quite happened quite yet. In this world, musicals are still for mocking. Unlike the glitzy, high production values we relish today, the singing and dancing in Get Over It is mostly awful, mostly on purpose, and the people in the movie who take it seriously are mostly ridiculed. But it is onto something, and executes it with a delicate balance of charm and, well, indelicacy:
“You know that song, ‘Pocket full of dreams’?”
“Down here we call it ‘Pocket full of ass.'”
There are so many moments that just make you snort your Icee.
“Bid the hunstmen wake them with their HORNS.”
“….You’d tell me if you’d had a stroke?”
If you’re looking for a midsummer romp where people get shot with crossbows, hit in the face with rapid-fire tampons, meander through various versions of reality, and sing their way to true teen love, this is the movie for you. You’ll never get over it.