Drive Me Crazy

Directed by John Schultz
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Adrian Grenier, Susan May Pratt.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for teen alcohol and drug use, and for language.

Review by Matt Heffernan
October 2, 1999

There has been a definite trend in teen movies lately that they all must end up at the prom. In many cases, it is the focal point of the drama. There's nothing left to say about the prom itself, so the film has to come up with something else to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, that rarely occurs.

Nicole Maris (Melissa Joan Hart, in her first starring role in a film) is in charge of the centennial celebration at Timothy Zonin ("Time Zone") High School. She has everything planned, including a date with Brad (Gabriel Carpenter), the star of the basketball team. Her next-door neighboor, Chase Hammond (Adrian Grenier), doesn't care about dances or any "school spirit" crap. He prefers going to neo-beatnik coffee bars with his girlfriend, Dulcie (Ali Larter). Nicole and Chase used to be close friends, but they have been in separate social circles since Junior High.

On one fateful day, Nicole's date with Brad falls through, and Dulcie dumps Chase. Nicole needs to come up with a date fast, in order to save face in her popular clique. Her only available option is Chase. He agrees to enter into this "scam", and penetrates her world of jocks and homecoming queens. To do this, she "cleans him up" and alienates him from his friends. They try to keep up appearances until the dance, but are there genuine feelings brewing? If you don't know, then this film might be worth your time.

There is nothing terribly exceptional about Drive Me Crazy. It's a pretty typical teen comedy-drama, that gets more melodramatic as it progresses. I suppose that's expected, since it was based on the novel How I Created My Perfect Prom Date, by teen paperback writer Todd Strasser. The title of the film was changed in honor of a Britney Spears song, but otherwise has little relevance to the plot.

Hart appears to be comfortable with her experience as a TV star, but it is Grenier who really makes an impression. He made his starring debut in last year's The Adventures of Sebastion Cole, and now carries this film with a very charismatic performance. Then again, the material is so light and predictable, it's hardly worth carrying.

What bothered me most about this film was the pervasive teen drinking. They may have a designated driver, but come on! They're teenagers! Even the principal characters drink quite heavily, and it isn't really questioned. I didn't feel that this was appropriate, since Hart's fan base is a very young demographic. It's not a good idea to tell 11-year-olds that it's OK to drink while you're in high school, as long as you don't drive. The last thing teens need are mixed messages in their movies. They get enough of those from their parents.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Drive Me Crazy (1999)

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Drive Me Crazy (1999) -- VHS
Drive Me Crazy (1999) -- DVD
Drive Me Crazy, a novel by Todd Strasser -- Paperback (title changed for film tie-in)
Drive Me Crazy: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc Home
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Review © 1999 Matt Heffernan