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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Drama > Teen > School > Social > American Teen (2008/Paramount DVD)

American Teen (2008/Paramount DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Feature: C



No matter how Nanette Burstein’s American Teen (2008) tries to be a more serious look at teen living today and promise something more than type of story and release before, it cannot exceed being ‘reality TV’, but slightly less exploitive.  The people focused on are not as handpicked as those pretentious TV messes, which makes them more natural and likable, but this is edited in a way that undercuts the lives of all.


Burstein is partly doomed simply because this is territory that is played out, tired and unless risky, cannot break through feeling like formula by default.  This is the High School Senior Year story yet again, as we guess the earlier years and grades are never as interesting, yet they are so unexplored.  Some of the moments ring true, but on the whole, this should have been longer (see the cut scenes) and had a different approach.  For instance, why does one of the girls decide she wants to be a filmmaker?  That was too sudden and epitomizes the way the chronological order flattens things and never builds this up properly.  Still, you could do worse.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a little soft and has motion blur; typical of such productions today.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix just spreads out the location sound which is stereo at best, but with music added by Michael Penn that helps.  Extras include those deleted scenes, character trailers, Hannah Blogs and Pop Quiz: Cast Interviews.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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