This is a teen movie, without a doubt. I forgot how much I
love this kind of movie, when it's done right. I have a weakness
for stories where the shy underdog gets the girl, especially when he
doesn't have a chance.
But this wasn't a story about the popular girl. Rather,
it is about the girl who is considered to be the shrew, as in Shakespeare's
Taming of the Shrew. Only she has good reason to be the way she is.
That's a nice touch right there.
The depiction of high school is great. This one had even
more cliques than our old high school; they were just stranger. There
was the group of white boys who wished they were black. The Future
MBA's, the guys to stay away from, the popular girls, and so on.
And that's when the main character falls in love. Of course, the
girl is unattainable, but he has to try.
Unfortunately, her father won't let her date unless her older
sister also has a date that night. He thinks he has solved the problem,
because the older sister is so moody and contrary, that she will likely
never go on a date. The father is the store clerk from Pretty
Woman, who does the sucking up to Julia Roberts. He is even better
here, as a doctor who seems to do mostly teen births. Thus his strict
view on dating. He goes off on so many great speeches about this,
it is so funny.
Meanwhile, our shy new guy, Cameron, hatches a plan with his
friend. They will get the dumb popular guy in school, a catalogue
model, to pay somebody to date Kat, the older sister, so he will be free
to date. Meanwhile, he arranges to tutor her in French, which he
has to learn on the spot. He gets to know her really well, and they
get along fine, but she is still attracted to the model, because he is
the ideal in looks, at least according to teen girls.
The lucky guy who gets to try and date Kat is another unpopular,
but the rumors surrounding him make him the ultimate choice. He
has apparently eaten a live duck, sold his liver for stuff (a car, I think),
beaten up state troopers, and other things that make him have a great mean-guy
reputation. But he is really a sweet guy. The problem with
this part of the plot is that the bad guy image disappears immediately
once he starts chasing after Kat. But it isn't really necessary,
He goes to this women's club, where "angry girl music" is being
played, which would really destroy his reputation. He shows up wherever
she is, and he finally manages to get to her. She is really annoyed
now! But her sister is the popular one, and finally convinces her
to go to a Friday night party so that she can also attend. That's
when Pat appears at the front door, just in time. Kat gets drunk,
and ends up creating a new image for herself, and ends up hating her date
But he is persistent, because he has fallen in love, despite
himself. I have to admit that Kat is much more attractive than her
popular sister. Julia Stiles does a great job of being moody, but
she also has a great smile, and eyes that light up very nicely.
Pat still follows her around, from bookstores to guitar shops.
When she still rebuffs him, he does a great rendition of a love song on
the stadium seats, while she is practicing gym class. She then starts
falling for him, and wonders why he has fallen for her. She distracts
the detention supervisor by chattering, then finally flashing him, to get
Pat free. They spend time together, and fall in love together.
This was great fun.
But when he asks her to go to the prom, she questions his motives.
They part on poor terms. But her sister again gets the better of
her, because she desperately wants to go to the prom, even as a sophomore.
So she goes, and they dance, and he surprises her again and again.
But the model guy shows up, and finds out that her younger sister
is here with somebody else. He reveals that he paid Pat to take out
Kat, and she, of course, gets really angry.
The greatest part about the prom comes when her younger sister
knocks out the model guy, after finding out that he had a bet on that he
would get her into bed by the end of the night. And there was the
change he brought about her sister in ninth grade after sleeping with her,
and causing her to renounce everything that people expected her to do as
The title comes from the poem she has to write for English class,
for a great black-guy teacher, who is one of the funniest people in the
whole movie. She rhymes off ten things that she hates about Pat,
in the style of Shakespeare. She ends up crying by the end, and leaves
the classroom without being followed. She loves him too much to go
on hating him, even after what he did.
They meet again at her car, where he has bought her a guitar,
in trying to make reparations. They seem to go away happy, even though
she is due to go to college on the other side of the country next year.
As for Cameron, who set all this up, I think he ends up happily
ever after, too. He gets a passionate kiss, and a sneaky glance the
next day at school.
There was also a small sub-plot with Cameron's friend and Kat's
only friend, who both seem to be obsessed with Shakespeare. It's
fun for the short time it exists, and is a great tribute to the genius
who wrote the original version of the story.
The movie was very, very funny, as well as being a teen romance.
I really enjoyed it, but as I said, I have a weakness for this type of
story. With beautiful and hansom lead actors, beautiful settings,
and great music, the movie comes in pretty high, despite a few flaws.