This Weak and Idle Theme: ‘Get Over It’ Review

Posted in Screening Room by - July 01, 2016

Welcome! Welcome one and all to Shakespeare month at Kulture Shocked! As a former thespian and outspoken admirer of the Bard, I cannot overstate how excited I am to dive right into this month’s offerings. With Shakespeare on the Green and Flatwater Shakespeare both wrapping up productions in my local area, it’s the perfect time to dive into the big screen translations of one of the most prominent figures in English literary history. I am honored to have the first crack at reviews, and with an interpretation of my all-time favorite play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Without further ado, let’s get right into dissecting 2001’s Get Over It.

Geeky high schooler Berke Landers (Ben Foster) has it all: a good position on the basketball team, close pals, and the hottest girlfriend in school, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), finally his partner after a life-long friendship. Of course, there’s no drama to that story, so we find out before the opening credits roll, with the assistance of a one-off musical number, that Berke is getting dumped for just being too boring and safe. Things go from bad to worse when a British boy band member who calls himself Striker (Shane West) transfers to their school and sweeps Allison off her newly-single feet. In an ill-attempt to win her love back, Berke decides to try out for the school’s spring musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and enlists the help of his best friend’s little sister, Kelly Woods (Kirsten Dunst), to transform him into an acting legend. But how will Kelly’s unspoken feelings resolve as she tries to help reunite the fractured lovers?

It’s a cute idea on paper if a bit blunt. Having even a passing knowledge of Midsummer tells you just about every beat of the story, and the film is forthcoming enough to give you an overview, even if you don’t! There are some twists and turns on the formula and a distinct lack of fairy magic, but it more or less keeps the same path with minimal inversion. The characters, themselves, are passable but Get Over It falls into many of the traps that became the hallmarks of high school comedies at the start of the new millennium. Berke and his pals are meant to be notable athletes, but they’re also nerdy party-bros whose actual sports prowess is constantly joked at. Most of the “humor” falls flat, as it comes from throw-away lines, bad sex jokes, and just pure awkwardness. There’s very little in the way of any character arcs, and most involved simply boil down to caricature. It’s a disappointing way to pay tribute to play that manages to appeal to the lowest common denominator, the high-brow, and everyone in between. Yes, Midsummer has its share of crude humor, but it’s much more deftly layered than this slap-dash adaptation.

However, there are some nice turns from side-characters and a few different moments. Martin Short as the maniacal theater teacher, Dr. Oates, is a pure joy, bursting with energy and purpose. Sure, he goes over the top into some painfully forced moments like the rest of the cast, but his larger-than-life role had some comedic meat to it (or maybe that’s just my personal run-ins with egomaniac high school directors). There’s also some novelty to Berke’s parents (played by Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley, Jr.), a pair of TV personalities who believe in letting their son express himself through wild experimentation, but you can really only get so much out of the “Oh we’re hip parents and cool with you ‘getting jiggy with’ that girl!”-type humor. What’s worse, most of those bits are horribly scripted and delivered. The actors are trying, but there’s not much they can do to help.

Even as disappointing as Get Over It turned out to be for a start to the month, I shan’t let it damper my spirits! Heck, as an extra silver lining, there’s trace amounts of a young Mila Kunis in this one, so at the very least there’s some conversation fodder, should any interviewer remember this movie exists. The film is by no means a complete failure, but there’s ultimately nothing worth spending an hour and a half of your time on. In the words of dear Theseus, “Never excuse, for when the players are all dead, there need none to be blamed.”

And now, my friends, I must bid thee adieu

‘Til next we meet, for my Friday review!

Final Say: Skip It

This post was written by
He is a Nebraska native and UNL Honors alum with an ever-relevant degree in English. When he isn’t working his day job or writing for Kulture Shocked, Ben spends his time as an independent game designer, seeking to publish his first board game. You can also find him modeling for art classes around Lincoln or online as Dlark17 on most major gaming platforms.
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