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Movie Review

Never Been Kissed

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related material and some drug content.

Reviewed by: Debbie Blanton

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romantic Comedy
107 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Molly Shannon, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, John C. Reilly, Garry Marshall, Sean Whalen, Cress Williams, Octavia Spencer | Director: Raja Gosnell

Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.

This is essentially the lesson behind “Never Been Kissed” and, although the movie delivers with a lot of laughs and a few tears, it is marred with several sexual references as well as other offensive material.

Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is a shy but bright 25-year old copy editor at the Chicago Sun-Times who yearns to be a reporter. Josie is skilled at her profession, but completely clueless in her personal life. In high school, she was a brainy nerd; a geek to the core—kids called her “Josie Grossie” (a nickname given by her very own brother)—and she has never had a serious relationship with a man in her quarter-of-a-century.

Josie has never, she laments, been really kissed.

But things change for Josie when her dream to become a reporter becomes a reality and she is forced to go undercover at a local high school to report on today’s teenagers. Josie is excited at the prospect of going back to high school again and making up for what she lacked before but, as she soon finds out, things haven’t changed: she still doesn’t quite fit. She quickly begins to relive all of her horrific high school moments yet again.

Josie finally starts to fit in, but it’s with the new generation of “nerds”, not the “in crowd.” Her boss Gus (John C. Reilly) starts putting a lot of pressure on her to make more of an effort with the “in crowd,” since this is where she is sure to find her story.

Interestingly enough, Josie’s younger brother Rob (David Arquette) was a popular guy in high school. A baseball player with potentiality for a college scholarship, his bout with mono kept him from attending college. He now considers his life meaningless as he works at the Tiki Post. Like his sister, he decides to re-enroll in high school and take another chance at living out his dreams of getting into the minor leagues, plus giving help to his struggling sister. He hatches a plan to make his sister popular, and it begins to work!

Along the way, an obvious attraction develops between Josie and her English teacher Sam Colson (Michael Vartan), who is awed by Josie’s wisdom and knowledge. This seemingly inappropriate teacher-student relationship becomes the story her boss is looking for. In dealing with her own emotions, Josie refuses to work on this story as she struggles on resolving her own personal issues.

While the concept of the movie was good, “Never Been Kissed” is not one I would recommend from a Christian perspective. There was about a dozen or more uses of profanity, 2 of which were uses of God’s name in vain (but there were no uses of the “F” word). There were 3 or 4 sexual references to men’s private parts and 4 other sexual references made besides those, one of which was a whole scene where Josie’s co-worker Anita (Molly Shannon) is mistaken for a sex seminar leader. Anita makes some rather crude remarks about sex, leading to a scene where students practice putting condoms on bananas. There is also some dancing sensuality, and 4 brief scenes of a couple of teenagers doing some heavy kissing, mainly in the school hallway. There is also underage drinking and a scene at a bar where Josie is given a piece of cake that is laced with drugs, causing her to get high and go wild. Marijuana is also used. Also, one of the popular girls (who is really skinny already) takes a look at a skeleton and makes the comment “OK, only ex-lax and water ’til prom.” The issue with the relationship between Josie and the teacher is something that you have to decide for yourself. While the audience knows Josie’s real age, her teacher and the other students do not. So, technically, is the relationship okay? This brings up an interesting discussion topic.

Personally, I liked the all-around message of the movie and if it was cleaner I would recommend it. Teens especially (and even some adults) need to hear the message that there are bigger things in life than high school, and ultimately it does not matter whether you were popular or a not… you have to find out who YOU are and try not be afraid of it: you can’t live in the past.

If you want to get the same message and choose to bypass this one I suggest you rent/buy Drew Barrymore’s last movie “Ever After”. It carries the same basic message about finding your inner beauty and confidence in yourself without all the junk in-between.

Viewer Comments
…Excellent acting, great cinematography, and a well-written script and story idea are among the positive aspects of this film. The sparse yet still unnecessary language, some blatant sexual innuendo (and some inappropriate apparel), and also drug/alcohol use are fairly offensive, yet I must commend the film for not containing sex itself. With my brothers having been in high school in the late 1980’s, I could definitely relate to the flashbacks that Barrymore’s character had in the movie. There are bigger things in life, and I am happy with this film for illustrating that truth. Although it has some unnecessary offensive inclusions, “Never Been Kissed” was a well-written, funny comedy, especially in light of the much more offensive motion pictures being produced today. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Jay, age 18
…overall a great movie. I thought it was very funny although the profanity was unnecessary. I thought Drew Barrymore showed off her wonderful acting ability once again, as she has in all her movies. I also have to say that David Arquette (Josie’s brother Rob) also did a great job. I would recommend this movie to teens and adults.
—Alexa S.
I am in High School, and I feel that the movie was very accurate in its portrayal of teenagers. I have always been a shy kid and though I have never been picked on to the extent that Josie was, I really felt like I connected with her. I nearly cried in many instances in the movie. Although I don’t appreciate profanity in movies or otherwise, the absence of it in this film would make it seem unrealistic. Face it, most teens swear. However, this is not a movie for those who are offended very easily, or young children.
—Megan, age 18
I rarely like Drew Barrymore except for “ET” and “Ever After,” but now I can add “Never Been Kissed” to that list. I thought the film was done really well and I could relate to a lot of it. While it is a good movie, I would also caution many Christians to really pray about seeing this movie. A lot of Christians are going to be offended while many more may be able to get past the problems of the film, like the profanity. But one thing is for sure… this is not a movie for young teens!
—Maggi, age 23
I would give this movie, at the very least, 4 stars. The overall message was superb, and was taught in a very comical way. I am a 98 high school graduate, and actually, the portrayal of high school life was pretty accurate. The reviewer mentioned that we shouldn’t focus on “all the junk in between,” and that just the end result matters. Those high school years, as well as all our years in life, help shape who we are. Our lives are dramatically affected by what we choose in life… to forget how we get where we’re going, would be like forgetting who we are. This movie also demonstrates this concept beautifully!
—Lora, age 19, non-Christian