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Sugar and Spice

Director:Francine McDougall
Writer:Mandy Nelson
New Line Cinema; PG-13; 99 minutes
Release:1/01
Cast:Marley Shelton, Marla Sokoloff, Mena Suvari

Sugar and Spice catapults traditional high school values into the 21st century. The film wobbles between send-up and filler. Satire requires conviction, or at least a unity of focus, and so it is never quite achieved.

Diane captains the cheerleading squad. Boyfriend Jack is the high school football star. Their love is gee-wow dreamy (on purpose, so the sugar is easier to swallow). But before Jack and Diane (James Marsden and Marley Shelton) make it to the big dance, they've got a little one on the way. Life as teenage parents brings unprecedented difficulties, which the couple faces with relentless optimism. No pretense of realism here, just a movie being silly and pushing the envelope; to make ends meet Diane decides to rob a bank, assisted by her crew of slavishly devoted cheerleaders.

Sugar and Spice says something worthwhile about family values and teen tribalism—under its breath. Compared to teen movies that offer little, Sugar and Spice offers a little bit more. This is a film that considers asking questions, then opts for easy fun.


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