Never Been Kissed (1999)

Directed by Raja Gosnell (1)

 
Cast: Drew Barrymore (2), David Arquette (3), Michael Vartan (4), Leelee Sobieski (5), John C. Reilly (6), Molly Shannon (7), Jessica Alba (8), Marley Shelton (9), James Franco (10), and Octavia Spencer (11)
 
 
My favourite quotes – “There is a big world out there… bigger than prom, bigger than high school and it won’t matter if you were the prom queen, or the quarterback of the football team, or the biggest nerd in school. Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.”“Somebody once told me that to write well, you have to write what you know. This is what I know… I am 25 years old and I have never really kissed a guy. A geek to the core, most of my childhood years were spent doing extra homework I requested from the teacher. High school was more of the same. Then at 17, it seemed as if my luck was about to change; the cutest guy asked me to the senior prom. But it turned out he invited me as a cruel joke. And I have never fully recovered. Yes, it is embarrassing to share this with the world. But it would be hard to explain what I learned and how I learned it without sharing this humiliating history. I received an assignment, my first as a reporter, to go back to high school and find out about kids today. What I ended up finding was myself, and that high school hasn’t changed. There’s still that one teacher who marches to her own drummer. Those girls are still there. The ones that even as you grow up will remain the most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen close up. The smart kids, who everyone else knew as the brains, but I just knew them as my soul mates, my teachers, my friends. And there’s still that one guy, with his mysterious confidence who seems so perfect in every way. The guy you get up and go to school for in the morning. South Glen would not have been the same without him. High school would not have been the same without him. I would not be the same without him.”

Blink & Miss It – Martha Hackett who plays a villain on the television series Star Trek Voyager has a small role in Never Been Kissed. Can you spot her?


I’ve heard that to write well, you have to write what you know. This is what I know… I’m 30 years old and since I was a young girl I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Sure, my ambitions changed and evolved through the years, but ultimately, I still ended up becoming a writer. I received an assignment to go back to the schools of 4 local celebrities for a new show called School Days (click on the title of the series to watch it on catch-up TV). And although I’m not an undercover reporter like Drew Barrymore’s character Josie Geller, going back to school has brought up a lot of memories and emotions in me. You see, one of the celebrities featured on School Days went to the same school as I did – Temasek Polytechnic. As such, while he was walking down memory lane and sharing with us about his school days, in my head, I was reliving my school days as well. And that is why I felt the urge to watch Never Been Kissed again.

Tracy: Hey Rob, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Rob: Ball player.
Tracy: No I know. But I mean, what if you don’t make it? I mean, you don’t want to be working at the mail place for the rest of your life. It’s okay for an after school job and all, but ‘Hi I’m Rob, and I run the tiki post’? Totally lame.

During the interviews I had with these 4 celebrities, I realised that quite a number of them dislike the subject Maths. As do I. When I was in Junior College, I wanted to go into the pure Arts stream. That meant that I would be doing Literature, History, and Geography for my ‘A’ Levels. However, my mother insisted that I take Maths even though I hated the subject. Her reason was that if I didn’t take Maths, I won’t go far in life. I think what she meant was that my options would become limited. But truthfully, I find that most of what I learnt in A Level Maths, I never needed them because I wasn’t in or interested in the line of work that required them. 


Gym Teacher: Little bit more commitment Geller! Move it! Come on!

Josie: Must. Have. Water.
Gym Teacher: What do I look like? Your waitress? Now you are going to complete these sprints, because if you don’t, you fail. And if you fail gym, you’re never getting into college.
Josie: You guys are still telling that lie?
Gym Teacher: That’s it Geller, drop, give me twenty.
Josie: No…

I didn’t have to go for gym classes for a number of years during my primary and secondary school days because I was diagnosed with a heart condition. It was a mild case but I was exempted anyway. But I do remember that during my early school days it was a must to pass PE (Physical Education) class and to participate in ECAs (Extra Curriculum Activities) in order to graduate. Even though I was exempted from PE, I never understood the need to pass gym class or PE class to graduate. It’s all just to get us more active perhaps.


Josie: Gus wants me to be friends with these people. The popular kids. Its impossible.
Rob: Why is it impossible? 
Josie: You know what it was like for me in high school. All I wanted was to be accepted and they just tortured me. I can’t go back to South Glen South.
Rob: You’re at South Glen South? They have a killer baseball team!
Josie: Focus please.
Rob: Okay, okay. You’re an adult now Josie. You’re successful, you graduated at the top of your class, you work for a newspaper, you wash your hair now. You’re not Josie Grossie anymore.
Josie: Don’t you know how much I just wanted to be you in high school? Just for one day to know what it was like to be popular.
Rob: It’s not that hard Josie. All you need is the right person. One person that think you’re cool and you’re in. Everyone else will be too scared to question.
Josie: Is that true?
Rob: Yeah, its a little known fact. Don’t you want to show ’em? Gus? Billy Prince? Yourself? Don’t you want to show ’em that the cool kids don’t freak you out anymore. That you can go in there and you can be friends with them and you can get your story. 
Josie: Yes, desperately.
Rob: Plus if you quit now then you’re no better than me.
Josie: Better than I.
Rob: That’s the spirit. So let’s hear it. Come on. I’m not Josie Grossie anymore.
Josie: I’m not Josie Grossie anymore.
Rob: That’s it. Now scream it.
Josie: I’m not Josie Grossie anymore! That’s good.

What kind of student were you in school? Were you like Josie Geller, a geek? Or were you part of the popular group? Me? I guess you could call me an outsider. I didn’t have many friends and kept to myself. In Secondary 1 and 2 I looked up to the school prefects who seemed so cool at the time. And so I made up my mind to become a prefect. Eventually, I did become one. Well, let’s just say not all prefects are liked. Suffice to say I wasn’t one of the popular kids. And I think I might have wanted to be popular for a while when I was in school but that faded away rather quickly.


It’s funny because just when I was given this project School Days, my Secondary School classmate actually contacted me and the rest of the class to try and arrange a get-together after 15 years. We haven’t set a date yet but I think it’ll be interesting to meet old classmates again after so long and to see how much all of us have changed. And if I’m honest with myself, yes, I desperately want to show them that I am successful and I’m no longer the weird kid who didn’t have any good friends in class. I’m not the old Monica Goh anymore. And I’m working towards my goal of being an awesome writer.


“Let me tell you something, I don’t care about being your stupid prom queen. I’m 25 years old. I’m an undercover reporter for the Chicago Sun Times and I have been beating my brains out trying to impress you people. Let me tell you something Gibby, Kirsten, Kristin, you will spend your lives trying to figure out how to keep others down because it makes you feel more important. Why her? Let me tell you about this girl, she is unbelievable. I was new here and she befriended me no questions asked. But you, you were only my friend after my brother, Rob, posed as a student and told you to like me. All of you people, there is a big world out there… bigger than prom, bigger than high school, and it won’t matter if you were the prom queen, or the quarterback of the football team, or the biggest nerd in school. Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.”

Our school days was a time of exploration and learning. It’s a time when we can find out who we are, what we want to be, and to go out there and try to achieve our dreams. It’s a time when you can afford to make mistakes so that you will learn from them. I love the quote above because I think no matter which country you’re from or which decade you grew up in, what Drew Barrymore’s Josie says here is very true. “There is a big world out there. Bigger than prom, bigger than high school, and it won’t matter if you were the prom queen, or the quarterback of the football team, or the biggest nerd in school.” All you need to do is “find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it”.


Sam: You know I’d like to tell you we all grow out of it. It’s a lie. Some of us will always be rattling cages.
Josie: Why do you do that?
Sam: I don’t know. I don’t know. You know what’s scary is that when you get older it’s just.. it just gets more confusing. I mean, you know Lara? My girlfriend you met at the club. We’ve been going out for 5 years and now she wants me to move to New York. And, you know, I mean I should. I should do it. You know, make the commitment and grow up. I know we have our differences. You know what, I shouldn’t be talking about this stuff with you. I’m sorry.
Josie: It’s nice to have someone to talk to.
Sam: Yeah. Same here. Well all I can tell you is that when you’re my age, guys will be lined up around the block for you.
Josie: You have to say that because you’re my teacher.
Sam: Actually I shouldn’t say that because I’m your teacher.

I miss my school days. Even though I was pretty much a loner and didn’t exactly have a great experience in Primary and Secondary school or Junior College for that matter, I do miss it. I think there would be plenty of things I would have done differently, but oh well, no one has invented the time machine yet so there’s nothing I can do about it (See the post on the film 13 Going On 30). However, I do agree that “as you get older, it just gets more confusing”. I think because as you age, you feel that you’re running out of time to figure it all out and when you rush the thought process everything becomes even more messed up. Also, when you’re out of school and in the working world, everything just gets more complicated. I don’t want to grow up. I wish I could stay young forever, like Peter Pan. 


When you’re in school, living a carefree life where your biggest problem would be passing or failing a big test, it does feel like its the end of the world. But now that I’m older, with bills to pay, retirement to think about, and a biological clock ticking constantly, yup, all those worries about that huge test or that big breakup with your high school sweetheart seem trival and unimportant.


Another reason why I really love Never Been Kissed is because it’s also partly about writing. About someone wanting to be a writer. Like me. 

Gus: Geller, we’ve been through this. You’re a great copy editor. You may be my best copy editor. You’re not a reporter. 

Josie: You’ve used 5 of my ideas! Gus, please.
Gus: Every Tom Dick and Harry thinks he can write, but a journalist gets in there, right where the bombs are falling. He’s aggressive. He grabs the bull by the balls.
Josie: You don’t think I can grab a bull’s balls?
Gus: Geller, you don’t want a reporter’s life, trust me. They’re very messy. And you’re all about order and control, and getting me my copy by five.
Josie: I can be out of control.

Hmm… I don’t know if I can grab a bull’s balls, but then again I don’t want a reporter’s life. But still, I think that to be a writer, you need to have courage. Courage to face the difficulties of a writer’s life. And courage to keep writing despite the self doubt, lack of recognition, and low income. 


Now at the heart of it all, there’s always a love story. What I like about Never Been Kissed is that it shows you that you can find love in the most unexpected places and through unconventional ways. 


Josie: The right guy he’s out there. I’m just not going to go kiss a whole bunch of losers to get to him.

Anita: But you know what, sometimes kissing the losers can be a really fun diversion. 
Joise: When I finally get kissed, I’ll know.
Anita: Okay if you’ve never kissed a guy before, we have bigger problems that the underwear.
Joise: I’ve kissed a guy. I’ve kissed guys. I just haven’t felt that thing.
Cynthia: That thing? Is that what you kids are calling it these days?
Josie: That thing, that moment, when you kiss someone and everything around you becomes hazy. And the only thing in focus is you and this person. And you realize that that person is the only person that you’re supposed to kiss for the rest of your life. And for one moment you get this amazing gift, and you want to laugh, and you want to cry, cause you feel so lucky that you found it, and so scared that that it will go away all at the same time. 
Cynthia: Damn girl, you are a writer.

Truthfully, I love the way Josie Geller talks about love. Sure, she may have her head in the clouds and maybe in this time and day, what she’s looking for is akin to asking for the moon. But hey, I’m a hopeless romantic so I dig it. 

Anita: Gus, have you ever been in love?

Gus: Leave.
Anita: Oh give it up Gus. Come on. Just making conversation. 
Gus: Love. Who knows what that is? Deadlines, circulation, that I understand.

Unfortunately, I’m too busy to place myself in a situation conducive to finding the love of my life. My friends say I work too much and they think that until I quit my job, I will never have a life (See post on the film Because I Said So). But maybe the truth is I’m not exactly looking. Love. What is love? Beats me. I have had 9 past relationships. And now more than ever, I think I know naught about love. 


Sam: Oh I almost forgot. I got you a meeting with the admissions guy from Dartmouth.

Josie: Dartmouth? But, urm… I wasn’t going to go to college. 
Sam: No no no. I pulled some strings and I got him to look at your writing and well, he agreed to meet with you.
Josie: You believe in me that much?
Sam: Of course I do Josie. You, you owe it to yourself, to your writing to go to college. You are a great writer. You just have to find your story.
Gus: He is your story.
Josie: You’re crazy! No! No… No!
Gus: What do you mean no? He’s got it all. Sex. Intrigue. Immorality in the education system.
Josie: He’s my teacher!
Gus: Yeah! That’s the best part! Student teacher relations, how close is too close? Josie, we’re going to blow the lid off it.
Josie: There’s no lid. There is nothing going on between Sam… Mr Coulson and me. 
Gus: Who are you kidding? Everyone in this office is in here every day watching you two. It’s like the god damn young and the restless!

I loved Drew Barrymore’s performance in Never Been Kissed as Josie Geller and I really enjoyed watching the budding romance between her Josie Geller and Michael Vartan’s Sam Coulson. I think this is Drew Barrymore’s best on screen pairing I’ve seen so far, although her performance with Dougray Scott in Ever After comes very close as well. But this pairing is definitely a better one than in the film 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler. I guess it’s partly because I have a mini crush on Michael Vartan. And Michael Vartan beats Adam Sandler hands down in the looks department. Sorry Adam Sandler. 

 
As for Michael Vartan, I think he did a pretty decent job as Sam Coulson in Never Been Kissed. It was also fun to watch the film again and see how far Jessica Alba and James Franco have come since playing bit roles in Never Been Kissed
 
In all, Never Been Kissed is a fun and sweet film that is a must see if you’re into light hearted high school flicks about life, love, and the good old school days. 
 
 
(1) Raja Gosnell has directed films like Home Alone 3 (1997), Big Momma’s House (2000), Scooby-Doo (2002), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), Yours, Mine and Ours (2005), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008), The Smurfs (2011), and The Smurfs 2 (2013). 
 
(2) Drew Barrymore has acted in films like E.T The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Firestarter (1984), Poison Ivy (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Scream (1996), The Wedding Singer (1998), Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998), Charlie’s Angels (2002), Donnie Darko (2001), Riding In Cars With Boys (2001), Confessions Of A Danergous Mind (2002), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Duplex (2003), 50 First Dates (2004), Fever Pitch (2005), Music And Lyrics (2007), Lucky You (2007), He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), Whip It (2009), Going The Distance (2010), and Big Miracle (2012). She also did voice work on the animations Titan A.E. (2000), and Curious George (2006). 
 
(3) David Arquette has acted in films like Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), Airheads (1994), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Eight Legged Freaks (2002), The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl In 3-D (2005), and Scream 4 (2011). 
 
(4) Michael Vartan has acted in films like The Next Best Thing (2000), One Hour Photo (2002), Monster-In-Law (2005), Jolene (2008), and Colombiana (2011). He played the role of Michael Vaughn in the television series Alias (2001-2006) and played Dr Tom Wakefield in the television series Hawthorne (2009-2011). He also guest starred in television series like Friends and Kitchen Confidential.
 
(5) Leelee Sobieski has acted in films like Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Deep Impact (1998), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Here On Earth (2000), The Wicker Man (2006), Finding Bliss (2009), and Public Enemies (2009).
 
(6) John C. Reilly has acted in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Thin Red Line (1998), For The Love Of The Game (1999), The Perfect Storm (2000), The Good Girl (2002), Gangs Of New York (2002), Chicago (2002), The Hours (2002), Anger Management (2003), The Aviator (2004), Step Brothers (2008), Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009), and Cyrus (2010). He also voice the character of Wreck-It-Ralph in the animation Wreck-It-Ralph (2012), and the character 5 in the animation 9 (2009). 
 
(7) Molly Shannon is best known for her work on the Saturday Night Live (1995-2001) and has acted in films like Analyze This (1999), How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Serendipity (2001), Shallow Hal (2001), The Santa Clause 2 (2002), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006), Marie Antoinette (2006), Little Man (2006), Evan Almighty (2007), Bad Teacher (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), and Scary Movie 5 (2013). She has also done voice work for animations like Snow Buddies (2008), Igor (2008), and Hotel Transylvania (2012). She has also guest starred in television series like Seinfield, Will & Grace, Sex And The City, Scrubs, Pushing Daisies, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, and Glee.
 
(8) Jessica Alba has acted in films like Honey (2003), Sin City (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Into The Blue (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007), Good Luck Chuck (2007), The Love Guru (2008), Valentine’s Day (2010), Machete (2010), Little Fockers (2010), Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World (2011), Machete Kills (2013), and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2013). She also played the role of Maya Graham in the television series Flipper (1995-1997) and Max Guevara in the series Dark Angel (2000-2002). She also guest starred in television series like The Secret World Of Alex Mack, Beverly Hills 90210, Entourage, and The Office. 
 

(9) Marley Shelton has acted in films like Pleasantville (1998), The Bachelor (1999), Bubble Boy (2001), Uptown Girls (2003), Sin City (2005), American Dreamz (2006), W. (2008), Women In Trouble (2009), Elektra Luxx (2010), and Scream 4 (2011). 

(10) James Franco has acted in films like Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Tristan & Isolde (2006), Annapolis (2006), Flyboys (2006), The Holiday (2006), Spider-Man 3 (2007), Pineapple Express (2008), Milk (2008), Date Night (2010), Eat Pray Love (2010), 127 Hours (2010), Your Highness (2011), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011), Oz The Great And The Powerful (2013), This Is The End (2013), Lovelace (2013), and Homefront (2013). 


(11) Octavia Spencer has acted in films like Big Momma’s House (2000), Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004), Coach Carter (2005), The Help (2011), Flypaper (2011), Smashed (2012), and Fruitvale (2013). 

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… This is what Never Been Kissed is all about. “Somebody once told me that to write well, you have to write what you know. This is what I know… I am 25 years old and I have never really kissed a guy. A geek to the core, most of my childhood years were spent doing extra homework I requested from the teacher. High school was more of the same. Then at 17, it seemed as if my luck was about to change; the cutest guy asked me to the senior prom. But it turned out he invited me as a cruel joke. And I have never fully recovered. Yes, it is embarrassing to share this with the world. But it would be hard to explain what I learned and how I learned it without sharing this humiliating history. I received an assignment, my first as a reporter, to go back to high school and find out about kids today. What I ended up finding was myself, and that high school hasn’t changed. There’s still that one teacher who marches to her own drummer. Those girls are still there. The ones that even as you grow up will remain the most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen close up. The smart kids, who everyone else knew as the brains, but I just knew them as my soul mates, my teachers, my friends. And there’s still that one guy, with his mysterious confidence who seems so perfect in every way. The guy you get up and go to school for in the morning. South Glen would not have been the same without him. High school would not have been the same without him. I would not be the same without him. I lived a lifetime of regret after my first high school experience, and now, after my second, my regrets are down to one. A certain teacher was hurt on my path to self discovery. And although this article may serve as a step, it in no way makes up for what I did to him. To this man, you know who you are, I am so sorry. And I would like to add one more thing, I think I am in love with you. And so I propose this, as an ending to this article and perhaps a beginning to the next chapter of my life, I, Josie Geller, will be at the state championship baseball game, where my friends the South Glen Rams are playing for the title. I will stand on the pitcher’s mound for the 5 minutes prior to the first pitch. If this man accepts my apology, I ask him to come kiss me for my first real kiss.” It’s the essence of the film isn’t it, about high school and about finding yourself. And it reminds me that every thing that we’ve been through in school shapes who we are. There is a lesson to learn in every mistake we make, in every negative thing that happens in our lives. There is no wrong or right, just what you make of your life. (4.5 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia


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One response to “Never Been Kissed (1999)

  1. Pingback: Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) | Adventures of The SIA Brat·

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