American Teen - Review

American Teen
Ages: General Audience

This is a documentary about mainly four teenagers in their senior year in a mid-Western high school. Where did they get these kids? They are unrelenting stereotypes and as such you keep hoping that something out of the ordinary will happen to them - it doesn't. The year's activities mostly involve dating, crushes, pairing and un-paring, and utter devastation when that happens. There is some basketball, but never any studying, no classes, action takes place in the corridors. The school has a caste system as rigid as India, and crossing lines is not tolerated.

The film was presented at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, the US primary elections had been going since January 2008. Not a political word in the movie - not by adults, not by the kids, not even a poster. It's unreal. How would you expect a story pan our if you had:

If it was in an urban environment where most of the population of the US lives:

Well this story takes place in Warsaw Indiana - in the words in the movie itself, "a mid-Western red state, mostly Christian, mostly white, mostly middle class except for some wealthy families", and so the story goes:

The movie may play well in the boonies - but no city kid will buy it. There isn't even a heartthrob - they are just kids from Indiana. The video is only sold through Target stores. The special features include Hannah Blogs - the rebel - who is less than a rebel in her blog mostly going on about what she considers the perfect guy.

Fun Factor: So predictable
Female Factor: A queen bee and a rebel

Reviewed by: Editor - 12/08

  • American Teen
  • © Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Platform(s): DVD