How To Deal

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content and drug use 
Starring: Mandy Moore, Trent Ford 
Directed By:Clare Kilner 

Final Grade: 

High School can be a time of change, and traumatic events. It’s the most vulnerable time for a teen, or so I am told, and their actions and the actions of others are what molds them into the people they are in later life. And of course the one thing that develops peoples more than ever is love. Everyone has high school romances and high school cliques and both fond and not so fond memories of their high school days. For years people have made high school romance movies, so what is one Moore going to hurt (yes the bad pun was intended)

It is sad to say that one Moore can hurt. Mandy Moore star stars in How to Deal, the newest flick in the fluff enhanced teenage romance story that makes most viewers want to vomit, and the 13 year old girl the happiest thing since little Joey Told Billy that he kind of sort of had a crush on some girl in his class. Mandy plays Halle, a girl whose life is going downhill. Everyone around her is finding true love, and Halle doesn’t see the point. She thinks the idea of love always ends in conflict and pain and wants nothing to do with it. That is until she met Macon, the high school rebel who just might be able to change everything.

I could easily point out the predictability of the film, but if you didn’t expect the ending then you obviously don’t watch quite enough movies. The film follows the same old scenario. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, and they hate each other, then love each other. After their first big fight they realize they love each other too much and end up kissing in a very anti-climatic moment. Yeah, Yeah I spoiled it, but did you really think she would turn the boy down? That’s what I thought.

And besides I didn’t really ruin anything for you, but instead spared you from an hour and a half of agony. Never before in my movie career have a seen a movie that tried so hard to be a coming of age teen flick and instead became a comedy. Moore’s character’s bitterness becomes very old after a while, and her pattern of unfortunate happenings are so over done it is a laugh. You know the old saying “just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it does”? Well that is the case in Halle’s life. One thing after another happens and happens and happens. It’s believable for the first few times, but by the end the only bad thing that hasn’t happened to Halle is Satan popping out from around a corner and swallowing her soul. It’s ridiculous. I know they were trying to show how troubled her life was, but in the end, it was just overkill. So much overkill in fact the makers just gave up and left you small loose ends everywhere. We do not know what happens to her friend and her confrontation with her boyfriend’s parents; they don’t really touch on the cheating father figure in her life, even though they were both thrown into the mix.

To Top it all off every good teen romance film needs a moment of truth, where boy meets girl after the fight and they once again fall in love. Over the years, they all stay the same, but it’s still respectable if you can find creative or different way of doing it. How To Deal couldn’t even do that. The ending felt stolen from “10 Things I Hate About You” which star the Gorgeous Julia Stiles. How dare Mandy Steal from my Julia!

Their film did have its positive moments, and that being Mandy Moore. Moore did a wonderful job, and is proving to be a talented actress. But when surrounded by lackluster performances it is easy to be a shinning star. It will be interesting to see her in a variety of other films in the future to see if this pop princess has a future in acting as well.

But in the end, the makers of How to Deal couldn’t find original if it came down and beat them over the head. I know many times before I have been told I have no heart, and chick flicks are not for me. I agree to an extent. I am a guy; of course I don’t enjoy them! But I do know a good one when I see one. There will be many a chick flick to come that will get good grades on this site, but because of the sheer overkill this coming of age teen romance flick is going to have to learn How To Deal with a below average grade. 

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