What's worse is here the youths acting out insecurities, prejudices, cruel jokes and foolish romantic notions amid an atmosphere of spite, malice and ignorance have only just graduated junior high. Not only are the kids too young for what they are up to, the movie is clearly aimed at an even younger tween audience, apparently considered ripe for seduction by the taboo adventures, sexual overtones and the product placement of this tasteless production.
Vega (who was Carmen Cortez in the "Spy Kids" flicks) as Julie is not naturally convincing as someone who would be ignored by the in-crowd at school. But she tries her best to find genuine emotional moments in the foolishness she is asked to perform as Julie and her outsider chums take on the dare of a scavenger hunt instigated by the popular girls.
Their unsuitable adventures take them into several illegal situations including hanging out at a nightclub with their nerdy school principal! Attempting to secure the boxer shorts of the boy she fancies, Julie, hiding in his shower, gets to observe what he looks like without them. It may be true that all 14-year-olds desire to be older and strive to appear so, but exploring those wishes and dreams in such a superficial, coarse and insensitive way as this movie does is neither responsible nor good entertainment for anyone of any age.
While Julie does manifest hints of being a multi-dimensional person, the rest of the characters are so paper-thin that the actors can't even make them amusing in a cartoony way. Even mom gyrating on the dance floor and dad bent under the kitchen sink with butt-crack exposed aren't immune from the distasteful sexual jiggle tone of the whole film. Starring Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Kallie Flynn Childress, Jane Lynch, Jeff Garlin, Sam Huntington, Sara Paxton and Sean Faris. Directed by Joe Nussbaum. Written by Elisa Bell. Produced by Charles Weinstock and Bob Cooper. An MGM release. Comedy. Rated PG for thematic elements involving teen dating, some sensuality and language. Running time: 89 min