“Hullo, Brittany? It’s Amber. Omigod, I just saw the best movie: 10 Things I Hate About You. It has that girl in it, the one from the TV miniseries, The ’60s? She is sooo pretty.

“Yeah, it’s about her; I just told you she’s the prettiest girl in this school, right? It has a funny name—Padua High. It’s in Seattle. So Julia Stiles plays Katarina Stratford, who’s really skinny and has the best hair. No, she’s not popular; everyone hates her.

“Why? She’s kind of a loner, I guess. She thinks high school’s really phony and full of losers—can you totally relate?—she’s like one of those art girls, you know? So anyway, this kid, Cameron, who’s that Joseph Gordon-Levitt guy from 3rd Rock From the Sun, is new in school, and he’s kind of a geek but nice, and he makes friends with Michael, the older brother in Slums of Beverly Hills. Yeah, David Krumholtz. He’s funny….

“I’m going as slow as I can; what’s your damage? The geeky kid likes Bianca, who’s Kate’s younger sister, and she’s really sweet and pretty and fluffy, like a kitten or something. You’re confused? I couldn’t tell whose story we’re supposed to be following for the first half hour! I’m like, is this about Bianca, ’cause she’s sweet and popular and wants to date boys, but her dad won’t let Bianca date until Kate does? Or is it about Cameron, ’cause he’s new there, so we should be seeing the school through his eyes, right? Or is it about Kate, who’s like, sort of the main character except you don’t meet her for a long time? Then there’s this oily stud guy also trying to go out with Bianca. What? Um, Larisa Oleynik, I think. Probably a 2 petite. She has, like, no butt. Tell me about it. Shut up, you are so not fat!

“Anyway, Cameron and Michael—I didn’t really get how this happened, or why—but they ask this other gorgeous loner person named Patrick Verona to go out with Kate so that Bianca will be free to date. He is sooo cute!! God, Brittany, you would die! He’s got long hair and this killer smile—way better than Marky Mark’s—and a totally hot body, and he looks, like, 10 years older than the high school kids. What? I don’t know, Heath something. Heath Ledger. Gee, Brittany, it doesn’t matter why no one in the whole school ever noticed that he’s the cutest guy in the universe or that Kate is unbelievably beautiful. They’re loners, OK?

“The dialogue? Who are you, Roger Ebert? Around Kate, everyone talks about how difficult she is, so I guess she is, but she doesn’t really do anything except mope and roll her eyes. And then everyone talks about how adorable Bianca is, etc. Oh, and Michael says something really funny to Cameron: ‘The mewling rampalian wretch herself—stay cool, bro.’ I didn’t really get it, but it sounded cool. So Patrick takes money to go out with Kate, but she won’t go out with him, because she’s all feminist and anti-boy. I don’t know, Brittany, she’s just like that. Then he shows up at her favorite riot grrrl show and she’s all impressed. I thought maybe she was a lesbian or something, because the movie acted like it was really funny to make every person at the club female except for Heath. Aarrgggh, Heath. I am so in love!

“What? Yeah, it’s sort of like She’s All That. In fact, it’s a lot like it. Yeah, it ends with a prom. Of course Kate finds out that Patrick was being paid to hit on her, what a stupid question. She’s mad for a minute, but then she’s not mad anymore, and she writes him a sonnet in English class describing how much she doesn’t hate him. I guess it was a sonnet. She’s supposed to be the big intellectual but when the teacher assigns them this sonnet, she goes, ‘Does it have to be in iambic pentameter?’ I mean, like, duh; it’s a sonnet! It has rules!

“Well, no, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, when you think about it. You think that Patrick will be just as mean to Kate as she is to everybody else, and that’s what will make her fall in love with him, but he’s really nice and he fakes an interest in things she likes, just like a regular boy. He’s supposed to be mysterious but we never find out what his secret is, like why he’s all old and what’s wrong with his family. We also never find out why Kate keeps pushing boys away, or if she’s ever looked in a mirror. Or what’s the point of their dad forbidding Bianca to date until Kate does. If it was about them getting married, I’d sort of understand….The dad? Not Dan Hedaya, but someone just like him. Larry Miller. Actually, the adults are pretty funny: Daryl “Chill” Mitchell is the English teacher, and Allison Janney plays this really neurotic guidance counselor who writes steamy romance novels in her spare time.

“Anyway, you have to see this movie. What do you mean why? ‘Cause it’s targeted to teenagers, and the people in it are really great-looking; didn’t I already tell you it’s about a guy paying another guy to take out a girl who could get any guy she wanted in a normal high school in the real world? Did I not just mention that the prom is the big climax? The Taming of the What? Nuh-uh. I told you, it’s set in Seattle. I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re kidding. No way! Omigod, that Shakespeare guy is so hot!”CP