This is one of the few feel good movies that I would give this high a rating. It isnt anything new, the characters don't break any new ground, but that isn't important. It is like listening to Beethoven, no new ground is broken, but how well are they playing it?
The cast is perfect, they not only were all decent actors and fit the roles, but they don't look like actors. They are people that you can see yourself going to high school with, not my white trash high school;), but from the average high school. Seth Green is in perfect form as the white boy who wishes he was black, posing and growling more than acting with others around him groaning. Ethan Embry plays a believable book worm, flawed and nerdish, but believably so. Jennifer Love Hewitt is the clas princess, and looks the part. She is pretty, but has the look of the girl next door not a model in teenager clothing. Rounding off the cast is the refreashing Lauren Ambrose playing the bitter intellectual. She was rated as the new Jeannine Garafalo, unfortunate she didn't do much after this as she was a better actress than Jeannine. As well as the underrated Charlie Korsmo, playing the uber nerd of the class. Interestingly this was his last performance before joining the department of energy.
As previously stated, they don't really break any new ground. The white boy wishing he was a black guy has a moment of self realization. The bitter intellectual realizes that she might be at fault for her lonliness and hooks up with a very unlikely person. The quiet book worm gets courage to ask out someone who was beyond his level. The jock has a sobering moment when he sees where is life is headed. etc........
No new ground broken, but it is treated more seriously than most movies of its genre. The pacing is well done and keeps you interested throughout the movie. The humor is offbeat at times and has a freash feel to it. Though the characters are cliche, they make you interested in them and their plights. I found myself wanting the bookworm to give his letter to the girl, for the princess to discover who she is alone, etc.. Plus they used their soundtrack well, good songs and they fit the scenes that they were in.
All in all it was a good movie, not great, but good. It is also one of the few feel good movies that I would advise to others. It is a movie that is idealistic and has a happy ending but doesn't become sappy or preechy like others of its genre. It also manages to be one of the best high school party movies ever.