By Drew Turney
Apparently a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s ”Taming of the Shrew”, this had all the hallmarks of being as banal and boring as the American teen comedies of the pre-”American Pie” era. Instead, a great script, some sharp jabs, a surprisingly mature outlook and some stand-out characters make it an pleasure to watch. New guy Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) desperately wants to date beautiful Bianca (Oleynik), whose over-protective obstetrician father (played to sarcastic perfection by Miller â€“ the College Dean from ”The Nutty Professor”) won’t let her out until her anti-social sister Kat (Stiles) dates too.
A set-up for the nerdy-sweet Cameron to convince school creep (Ledger, giving the strange half-American, half-Australian accent US audiences seem to love but otherwise shining) to take Kat out, leading to them inevitably falling in love. A cute teenage romance, interspersed with some great characterisations. Williams and Janney breathe comic life into some otherwise irrelevant roles, and Stiles plays a militant, intelligent young woman in the vein of Janeane Garofalo’s best roles, and to the credit of the script she doesn’t lose it all to turn into the prom queen after one swoon.
There’s a great commentary – with co-writers Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and stars Andrew Keegan, David Krumholtz, Larisa Oleynik and Susan May Pratt – but the retrospective featurette failed (or were Disney simply trying to keep costs down?) to bring back any of the young cast members for a chat. Pity. Still, a few good things here that’ll no doubt go down well with the film’s many fans.