Shakespeare 450: Get Over It - Online Review

2014 marks what would have been William Shakespeare's 450th birthday. In celebration of this (and being something of a Shakespeare nut) Ben intends to spend the year taking in as many Shakespeare films as he can - from old favourites to new interpretations and everything in between.

'Typical teen movie scenes such as basketball matches and house parties are included to pad things out rather than serve a genuine purpose in the story'.

Continuing the run around the turn of the millenium of teen films adapted from or influenced by Shakespeare plays, arguably kicked off by Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in 1996, Tom O’Haver’s Get Over It clearly hoped to emulate the success of 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s something that the director manages to achieve quite well in a number of respects; but there are also clear reasons that Get Over It isn’t held in such high regard as other teen Shakespeare movies.

Taking influence from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as basing its plot around a high school production of the play, Get Over It is at its best when it borrows most heavily from Shakespeare. The theme of the fickleness of young love is handled well throughout, with the opening sequence of O’Haver’s film setting up both the fairytale relationship between Berke (Ben Foster) and Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) and its unceremonious end one of the film’s strongest. It’s also the moment when the director employs the fantasy element of his film most successfully, something which he unfortunately doesn’t follow up regularly or satisfyingly enough as Get Over It progresses.

The performances here are a mixed bag, with Foster a solid lead if a little too intense for the film he’s in every now and again, and Kirsten Dunst providing a pleasing and endearing counterpoint to him. Martin Short, whilst never at his best, is still a welcome presence as the the school production’s condescending director, and Ed Begley Jr. and Swoosie Kurtz are consistently amusing cropping up every so often as Berke’s liberal-minded parents. Less impressive is Sisqó as Berke’s friend Dennis, providing ample evidence for why the one hit wonder rapper’s acting career never took off.

Get Over It’s main problems come from its near comprehensive averageness. The plot is disappointingly predictable,  R. Lee Fleming Jr.’s script never straying from the tried and tested teen romance formula that was well established by this point. The story also struggles to fill out the film's brief running time of just under an hour and a half, with typical teen movie scenes such as basketball matches and house parties included to pad things out rather than serve a genuine purpose in the story.

Despite using Shakespeare’s play to good effect in many ways, the story is undeniably simplified here, with the focus placed unequivocally on the relationships of the four young lovers for its inspiration. O’Haver only briefly touches on the fairies here and there, and ignores almost entirely both the subplots of Oberon and Titania’s rivalry and the mechanicals, a choice likely to disappoint Bard fans.

Whilst never a bad film, Get Over It seems too happy to remain a distinctly unexceptional one, too often getting by on the charms of the stronger members of its cast. There’s a nagging sense that, had the writer and director immersed themselves further in Shakespeare’s play for inspiration rather than keeping things simple and safe, this could have ended up a lot more memorable.

Get Over It was available to stream on Amazon Instant Video.

Keep up to date with the Shakespeare 450 series so far.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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