Monday, February 23, 2009

It's a Boy Girl Thing (Nick Hurran, 2006)

This is the film I've been quietly demanding Hollywood North make for over five years. Now, I know what you're thinking, and no, I don't mean another in a long line of contrived body switching movies. Nope. I'm talking about a film starring the sparkly Samaire Armstrong, one of the most captivating actresses of this young century. I mean, I never thought I'd live to see the day when her sylphlike frame and flaky name would adorn an actual movie poster. It's like a wish come true; a misguided, mildly pathetic wish, but a true wish nonetheless. Upon further reflection, I kinda hoped she would have chosen to appear in a more original vehicle as her first starring role. But then again, it could have been worse, as It's a Boy Girl Thing is a light and frothy film that doesn't strain the brain muscles, and gives us a semi-positive message about gender and class without making the audience gag too hard. However, the fact this Nick Hurran directed film failed to bring anything unique to whole body switcheroo genre was a tad disheartening. Neglecting to fully explore the wonders of homoeroticism, for example, was just one of the many missed opportunities in this guy-gal affair.

The well-worn tale is about Nell (Samaire Armstrong) and Woody (Kevin Zegers), a pair of constantly bickering adolescents from opposite sides of their high school's social pecking order, who unwittingly trade bodies with one another after being exposed to an Aztecan sculpture at a museum. And like in, say, The Hot Chick and Freaky Friday, the two wake up shocked to find their flesh equipped differently. Forced to spend the rest of the story stuck with each others junk, the prickly twosome have roughly an hour and a half to learn to respect one another and themselves.

Unlike like most girl-boy exchange flicks, the particular one embraces the warm, scintillating bosom that is crude and bawdy humour. This unforeseen crudity is what helped me manoeuvre through this hackneyed mire more smoothly. Exaggerated silhouettes of an erectile nature, mob crotch waxing, naked shower scenes (male and female), menstruation gags, and references to semen caressed my ear region like a dirty rag. Also, you got to give up for a film that ends with a big football game (complete with late minute heroics) and a prom (complete with the crowning of a king and queen ). It's that kind of devil-may-care boldness that makes admire this film more than any sane person would possibly dare.

The main reason, however, for enduring such cliches was obviously to bask in the whimsical charms of Samaire Armstrong. Radiating onscreen like a demented enchantress (one who has just acquired the ability to be foxy in public), Samaire sent me flying into a pleasure-laden stupor with every crinkled nose and batted eyelash. It's true, she didn't quite master the male mannerisms... you know, beyond sitting with her legs apart (Kevin Zegers' feminine posture was a tad more convincing). But I'm not gonna let a little thing like improper manliness ruin a perfectly adequate Samaire experience. I mean, to see the svelte thespian cavorting in high heels and a plaid miniskirt, her newfound legs glistening in the bland Ontario sunshine, as the Scissor Sisters throbbed on soundtrack, was, to put it mildly, the stuff seedy dreams are made of. In other words, fuck your gender-related nitpicks.

Obviously parts were filmed in Toronto (I spotted Cherry Beach), It's a Boy Girl Thing is stuffed with Canadian faces. Maury Chakin (Whale Music) and Robert Joy (Desperately Seeking Susan) being two of the more visible ones (Zegers is Canadian, too). And the wonderful Emily Hampshire, whose bizarre performance in A Problem with Fear is legendary in my mind, has a nice off-kilter vibe as Chanel, a geeky teen who hangs with the so-called in-crowd. A potty-mouthed Sharon Osbourne and a piggish Mpoho Koaho round out the rest of the cast. The latter actually earns the majority of the film's genuine laughs. Which are few and far between despite the presence of the lovely Samaire.

video uploaded by CheesyPeteza


  1. I probably need a neckbrace, because I think I'm suffering from "Review Whiplash" going from Party Doll A Go Go 2, to It's a Boy Girl Thing...

  2. If you don't think about it, the similarities between Party Doll A Go-Go Part 2 and It's a Boy Girl Thing are quite pronounced.

  3. Hey Yum-Yum. Good review. I actually saw this a few months back. A friend of mine had seen it and thought it was pretty cool. I gave it a shot. I liked it. It's nothing really original, but I thought Samaire and Kevin both did a good job in the movie. It's a decent way to escape your troubles for 90 minutes. It's good escapist fun.

  4. Wow, I'm surprised to find out that there are other people out who have actually seen this flick. You know, beyond the tween set who think Kevin Zegers is totally dreamy.