Friday, 19 January 2007

A Boy Girl Thing - Review by Emma J. Lennox

Director:Nick Hurran
Screenwriter: Geoff Deane
Running Time: n/a
Cerificate: 12A

Hollywood has managed, with It's a Boy/Girl Thing, to reduce a complex system of story telling and technique into a single title. Finally they have produced a critic proof film. If the title doesn't infer outrageous teen rom-com then the poster, which features a slovenly Samaire Armstrong and a prim Kevin Zegers under the tag line 'the best body swap comedy of the year,' should sweep away any nagging doubts. Yet although the film is a shopping list of conventionality, there are a few surprises.

Nell (Armstrong) and Woody (Zegers) are neighbours but they may as well live miles apart. Woody comes from an unsophisticated family whose father wants him to work in Spatula World and whose mother is played by Sharon Osbourne; one of those surprises. This confounding piece of casting is thankfully contained to a small role. Nell's family are Shakespeare spouting, Yale enthusiasts who like a healthy breakfast. The two are polar opposites; she says Shakespeare, he says Shakur. But thanks to a bit of jiggery pokery they swap bodies and now they hate themselves as well as each other.

When Hollywood wants to indicate the difference in things it uses the standard body swap technique. Men are different from women (The Hot Chick), small boys are different from grown up men (Big) and Sam Beckett is different from everybody (Quantum Leap). With volcanic hormones and sprouting hair, It's a Boy/Girl Thing shows the difference between teenage girls and boys with the usual body function humour, (although Woody escapes the full virtues of womanhood.) Serious issues like double standards in sexuality, male/female roles and individuality save it from being just another gross out teen comedy. Within lies a moral tale and as seen in Channel 4's Wife Swap, new perspectives breed growth and understanding.

When two people despise each other there is only one logical conclusion. Although the convention in this case is a little worrying; do they love each other, or do they love themselves? The romance may trouble budding philosophers with issues of narcissism, but this is an uncomplicated bit of fluff, a little better than the title and poster suggests.
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