Making the Grades
If you've ever dreamed of going back to high school so you could try to repair the most humiliating period of your life, then meet Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore).
Josie is 25, a newspaper copy editor, and still smarting from being picked on in high school. But even more than being unpopular, her real feelings of loss stem from having never been kissed by someone who really cares (and with that defining a real kiss, I'd say many high school teens are still waiting). Along with popularity and a good lip-smacker, Josie also yearns to be a reporter. Fortunately for Josie, she lives in a movie where the publisher of the newspaper will give her the ultimate assignment: Go back to high school and discover what teenagers are really all about.
With fashion tips from her sex obsessed girl friend, Josie ends up looking ludicrous instead of blending in, and finds herself back in the spotlight of ridicule. Fate doesn't turn in Josie's favor until her brother decides to go back to school too, (his adult life is also going nowhere) and wins the hearts of classmates after he downs a huge bowl of coleslaw in record time. Now Josie, riding on his tail of fame, can even attract the attention of her English teacher.
At best, this film may help teens sympathize with how devastating teasing can be. Yet despite all the empathy we may feel, Josie and the story still become enamored with climbing up the social ladder. Once Josie has made it, she takes opportunity to lecture to the graduating class on the merits of being kind to one another. I think the privileged teens watching this will turn off at this point, while audience members who fear their middle name is Loser, may not be convinced by Josie's actions.
With drug use played up for comedy (Josie eats cake that is laced with drugs) and many sexual discussions, including a scene where students are placing condoms on bananas, this unconvincing film may be amusing to adults, but sends confusing messages to teens.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Never Been Kissed.
What was the turning point for Josie’s popularity? Is it fair to base opinions on others by who their friends are?
Josie’s brother Rob wins an eating contest when he enters school, and gains immediate acceptance. Yet Rob’s personal life as an adult has not been very productive. Does our ability to be popular as a teen or an adult, have any connection with being successful in our careers or families?