ninth symphony films - movie reviews

SUGAR & SPICE (2001)

DIRECTOR  -  francine mcdougall

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  81 minutes

RELEASED  -  28 january 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  new line cinema

OFFICIAL SITE  -  sugar & spice

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $11,000,000
sugar & spice - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from sugar & spice at

buy the dvd from sugar & spice at

the children of secret-agent parents must save them from danger.

the movie is only 73 minutes long, with two minutes of "where are they now?" and six minutes of credits for a running time of 81 minutes.


picture from sugar & spice

picture from sugar & spice

picture from sugar & spice


zero out of four possible stars

As one of the many teen comedies to come out in the last few years following the incredible success of Clueless, I was expecting nothing more than mediocrity with this film. And I hate to say it, but I was exactly right in my assumption. A mediocre dose of what some people think is funny, but what most people think is stupid. Maybe somebody in Hollywood thought this would be a funny, sweet addition to the slew of teen comedies already out there and failing on the market. But I can't say I was too entertained by the events in this film. None of the acting was terribly bright.

The story was interesting at first, but kind of dragged into the second act (meaning after about 25 minutes, it got boring). It's rare that a movie comes along that's so dedicated to making young people laugh and ends up doing such a bang-up job at it. There's nothing I'd like more than to find one of those high school comedies that was enjoyable, as they often tend to be smarter than the bloody action films that are so common now. But this wasn't like 10 Things I hate About You, where you had a semi-intelligent script and a talented cast (though that film was based on Shakespeare) or like crazy/beautiful where you had a so-so script and two fantastic actors carrying out some very intelligent acting.

Sugar and Spice is just ordinary. And the comedy's not even funny. And I hate that. The least the filmmakers could have done with this picture is bring some intelligence into it. And I feel that they really missed the boat. The film seems almsot hastily put together, as if they just got all the "hot young teen stars" they could and stuffed them into the first script, good or bad, that they could find. With all this evident complaining, it seems as though I might just be complaining because I don't like childish films or I don't think that teenagers can act.

But that's just the problem. I have enjoyed many films geared toward teenage audiences, and even towards younger audiences. When, a few years ago, I left my teens, I didn't stop liking teen films right off the bat. In fact, I still enjoy them. Of course, there has to be at least a few interesting things about the film to strike my fancy though. Even if I were to look at this film as though I were seventeen years old, I can't say i'd have anything to recommend about it. The plot just kind of humps along for an hour and a half (well, not even that long) without ever getting too interesting. And the plot really could have been something special.

And that plot's really simple. But even with a simple story, a film can be dynamite. You just have to supply a decent script to add to the story and you can have yourself a very entertaining bit of movie. For your reference, the plot to this film is as follows: a popular high school cheerleader becomes pregnant with the star quarterback's child, only to find herself turning to crime to support the lifestyle she wants to live. This film actually shows much promise on the surface. But when it's not backed up by some stellar (or at least interesting) acting, a sub-standard script will not save the movie. And because all of the stars in this film are valued for their looks, rather than their acting ability, they really can't turn a bad script into a good movie.

Because that's been done before. The aforementioned Crazy/Beautiful is one such example. That film had a pretty standard plot and script, but the actors made the story come alive and the film became very interesting. It's too bad this film wasn't cast better. Sheesh, after having seen the film, I can't even remember that much about its stars. I'm going to go have to look them up . . .Oh, forget it. This movie's not worth remembering. And I say, unless you're dragged into the theater, skip this one.

It's too bad that so many films this year (2001) are turning out to be such duds. It's as if the Hollywood joes in charge of everything have put both the necessary items of a decent script and a good cast on the back burner in favor of great hairstyles and famous faces. I'm not asking for something worth a Tony award here, but some attempt at creating something interesting to watch on screen would be nice. I have a feeling that the people involved behind the screen on this film were forced into making a "crowd pleaser" picture before they got the go-ahead to make some kind of "thinker" picture.

Here: make this bad movie and then we'll let you make your movie. Of course, looking at the filmographies of the writer and director to this film, it doesn't seem like they've made anything worthy of a second look. And this film falls into the same category. What looked to be a story with a lot of potential has been made into a film no more interesting than the usual teen trash being thrown out into the ether at the present time. Now why, after I've plainly spent this entire review harping on the fallicies of this film, do I give it one star? I do this because the basic story to the whole mess actually is something I was interested in. It was the execution and design of it that I didn't appreciate. So, rent this one at your own risk.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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