Making the Grades
"You can learn about sex from the movies, but not how to rob a bank," observe five high school cheerleaders--mother-to-be Diane (Marley Shelton); rebel teen Kansas (Mena Suvari), whose mother is in jail; obsessive Christian and loudly proclaimed virgin Hannah (Rachel Blanchard); intelligent Lucy (Sara Marsh); and Conan O'Brien worshiper Cleo (Melissa George). But why would the Lincoln High School A-squad care about such things?
It all begins when Diane announces that she and the new quarterback Jack (James Marsden) are planning to get married after they have their baby. In response to their unsupportive parents, the couple decides to set up house on their own. Believing he can support his fledgling family and continue with school, Jack gets a part time job. Wanting to contribute, Diane finds work at the grocery store branch of the bank, but discovers earning money comes slowly. Convinced that cash equals happiness, Diane persuades her four other cohorts to rob the bank.
And that brings us to the movies. To do some research on robbing banks, the girls turn to Jack, an employee of Video Update, who can provide easy access to R-rated films. Watching anything that has a robbery theme--Hannah the proclaimed Christian limits herself to the G-rated Apple Dumpling Gang--they become discouraged with their reference materials. So the pom-pom pushers turn to Kansas' mother who gets them some inside info from a prison companion. It appears the girls have thought of everything except for Lisa (Marla Sokoloff), an envious member of the B-squad who happens to be in the store during the heist.
Intended to be a farce, I found teen pregnancy, illegal activities, and irreverent descriptions of Deity, to be no laughing matter. While the sarcasm may be wasted on the teen crowd likely to be attracted to this film, I fear the portrayals of dishonesty and sexual permissiveness will not. I found the "happily ever after" ending to be particularly irresponsible, especially considering the studio "toned down" the violence from the original script. Unlike the depicted characters, I believe you can learn about crime from the movies, but very seldom about consequences.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Sugar & Spice.
The original script titled “Sugar and Spice and Semi-automatics”, was penned shortly before the Columbine shooting. New Line Cinema took some responsibility in toning the story down. For more information on changes made to the film prior to its release, follow this link for an informative article from Entertainment Weekly: http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6595,96616,00.html
What other options, besides robbing a bank, were open to Jack and Diane? In reality, how could Diane’s crime affect her husband’s future career?
Diane thought that having cash would help solve all their problems. What obstacles would they still face regardless of the amount of money they had?
How effective would Lisa’s alibi be in reality? What consequences would Lisa pay for her lie?