Review: “Varsity Blues”

Guys will love the few brief flashes of female nudity which come as a welcome return when you consider how nudity & sex free recent teen flicks have been (ala “Can’t Hardly Wait”). The theme of parents pushing their kids into sports too hard is done quite well and makes one wonder if there are towns out in mid-west America that are as football nuts as West Canaan. In the end this is just an average-level ‘overcoming the establishment’ film’, ‘If your aged between 12-15 (or older but who is intellectually still at that age), are male, enjoy high school, and are a big fan of American football – then you’ll love this film. Sadly I only fit the ‘male’ part of that equation (I’m 20, hated high school, don’t like American football) and so didn’t think much of “Varsity Blues” at all.

The story – a young outsider who gets the town’s support behind him to overcome one of the town’s asshole residents has been done so many times before (and better too) one wonders why. The cast are all decent, nothing outstanding but nothing disappointing either. Van Der Beek is your average likeable hero, though it stretches credibility at times (ie. most of us would’ve just said “f–k you” to the coach on more than several occassions). Voight’s role is sadly underwritten, not providing any real menace and thus not ‘falling from grace’ as far as the filmmakers wanted.

Upcomer Paul Walker continues to impress in his role as the injured Lance who Mox replaces. One saving grace is that the film is expertly shot, with some very well filmed football games helping interest stay high, though for us non-fans its confusing trying to figure out what any of the ‘moves’ are or what technical terms the players seem to be constantly saying.

The humour really sucks in this, almost all of the jokes don’t work. Why? Simple – they’re childish. No, not dumb jokes (dumb jokes are for the most part hilarious), this film has the kind of humour you have to be in your early teens or off your face to find funny at all – the kind which makes “Home Improvement” seem like sophisticated satire. The only joke really working being one revolving around Mox’s younger brother searching for a religion.

Guys will love the few brief flashes of female nudity which come as a welcome return when you consider how nudity & sex free recent teen flicks have been (ala “Can’t Hardly Wait”). The theme of parents pushing their kids into sports too hard is done quite well and makes one wonder if there are towns out in mid-west America that are as football nuts as West Canaan. In the end this is just an average-level ‘overcoming the establishment’ film, nothing particular bad but nothing particularly good either.