Sugar & Spice (2001) / Comedy-Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language, sex-related humor and some thematic elements
Running Time: 81 min.
Cast: Marla Sokoloff, Marley Shelton, Melissa George, Mena Suvari, Rachel Blanchard
Director: Francine McDougall
Screenplay: Mandy Nelson
Review published January 27, 2001
At 80 minutes, one can conclude one of two things: either SUGAR AND SPICE was slapped together hastily to capitalize on the success of BRING IT ON or this was intended to be a longer film but was butchered to try to protect a PG-13 rating. One would suspect that the answer is the latter when there is a curious amount of "bleeps" which cover up the foul language (a la TV's SOUTH PARK) even during supposedly live news interviews where there couldn't possibly be any. While I would have preferred seeing the unedited version of this film, I would suspect given the scenes which actually did make the final cut, the chance of this being a good film even with the extra scenes would be miniscule at best.
The storyline revolves around Jack and Diane (no, not from the John Cougar Mellencamp song), the star quarterback and star cheerleader of their local high school. The two are the hottest item going, and after going out a while they decide to have a baby and eventually marry. They find it hard to find jobs that pay enough to support themselves, so with the aid of her fellow cheerleaders, Diane concocts a scheme to knock off the local bank.
While there is a lot of energy and interesting elements to the story, the film is very scatterbrained, with a lack of focus that undermines the total impact of the threadbare tale. The cast is likeable, the music is catchy, and the directing appears occasionally assured, yet in the end we are left with a "sweet nothing" comedy that neither invokes laughs nor thrills. Aiming yet again at the CLUELESS crowd of teenyboppers who insist that their films feature a cast of hotties and loads of kick-ass jams, SUGAR AND SPICE is an 80 minute commercial to sell soundtracks and posters to the teenie masses. Seeing the director's cut of this film could prove interesting, but if it proves to be of decent quality, I would view this as nothing short of a miracle. It's easier to stomach than the sugar-coated BRING IT ON, but not by much.
©2001 Vince Leo