Chipper enough, “Get Over It” is a mildly diverting, largely inoffensive teen laffer that’s long on cartoonish high school hijinks but short on dramatic concentration and crucial story details. Helmer Tommy O’Haver brings the same unflagging perkiness to the proceedings as he brought to his debut feature, “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.” The unfocused, intermittently funny script by “She’s All That” scribe R. Lee Fleming Jr. tries gamely to balance its “Love, American Style” tone with yet another stab at weaving a Shakespeare play (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) into a teen setting — at the behest, per press kit, of Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein. Although unscreened for the American press, nothing here suggests box office embarrassment for distrib, which can expect decent to good biz before auds get over it and pic takes its rightful place alongside the dozens of nearly indistinguishable adolescent opuses on the vid racks.
At Rosner High School in an unspecified American suburb, senior Berke Landers (Ben Foster) is unceremoniously dumped after 16 months and three days by sweetheart Allison McAllister (Melissa Sagemiller). Although she claims it’s just time to move on, Allison quickly hooks up with Bentley “Striker” Scrumfeld (Shane West), British-accented vet of the once-popular Swingtown Lads boy band (music vid for their hit “Luv S.C.U.D.” is glimpsed fleetingly).
When Berke’s told the new lovebirds plan to audition for the school’s spring musical, “A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Eve,” he goes against the advice of his pals Felix (Colin Hanks) and Dennis (Sisqo) and tries out, too.
He’s coached for the stage by Felix’s sister Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), an aspiring singer-songwriter whose sensitivity is cruelly mocked by comically self-absorbed drama teacher Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates (Martin Short).
Inevitable backstage traumas result in opening-night onstage comic face-off among the principals, with Berke getting the girl and Striker receiving his comeuppance.
The kind of movie where only some of the characters have last names, essentially sweet-natured enterprise feels slightly rushed and distracted. Eye-catching opening is promising, as Berke’s banishment from g.f.’s house turns into an imaginative musical number along the neighborhood street that grows to include everyone from a garage band to the garbagemen.
Yet conceit is one of many ripe ideas introduced and dropped by script. Others include boy band sub-plot and promising oldster support of Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr., who, as Berke’s parents, have a startling intro and some all-too-brief comic relief as the co-hosts of a borderline explicit relationship advice TV show called “Love Matters.”
And potentially clever device of Bard’s play being transformed into a high school musical revue is never adequately fleshed out, squandering some characteristically funny show tune spoofs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Perfs are in the spirit across the board, with Dunst displaying a delicate singing voice and Short cutting up with appealing abandon.
There’s the usual percentage of bodily function and currently fashionable animal humor, but nothing more obnoxious than the old puking-in-the-party-punchbowl gag and a dog fond of mounting potted plants and basketballs.
Pic is peppered with just enough salty language to maintain street cred while avoiding an R rating.
Tech credits are alternately gaudy and moody, highlighted by the imaginative retro production design of Robin Standefer (pic was lensed in Toronto). Celebs Coolio and Carmen Electra have irrelevant, blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em cameos, and Vitamin C pops up for a climactic musicvid duet with Sisqo and the cast in a cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s snappy “September.”