DVD Review: American Teen - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DVD Review: American Teen

Some of the stars of "American Teen" Some of the stars of "American Teen"

Oscar-nominated documentarian Nanette Burstein follows a group of students in Warsaw, Ind., during their last year in high school. This is not a unique or original idea. There have been so many films and TV series dedicated to studying high school students. With nothing really bold or controversial to study here, this becomes another trifle.

The half dozen or so teens followed are interesting and good kids, but there's hardly anything new to explore. There's nothing we haven't seen a thousand times over. We know high school is a caste system of jocks, geeks, and etc. We know that these years are about figuring who you are and where you're headed.

The only new wrinkle is the impact of electronic mobile devices. I think this is the first time we've seen captured on film a boyfriend breaking up with his girlfriend via nothing but a text message.

The recent rash of "sexting" is also documented in this movie. Actually, one case is documented in particular. A young girl named Erica sends her boyfriend, Geoff, topless photos of herself via her cell phone. Not surprising, those photos get spread to almost everyone in school.

One interesting moment comes when one parent told his child, "You're not special." One would think a father's natural inclination would be to encourage his child, but not here. It wasn't mean spirited. It was just a tough realism given the tough situation the child was in, but, beyond that, I wasn't inspired by this film.

Two Stars out of Five
Rated PG-13 for strong language, sexual material, some drinking and teen smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. and 35 mins.

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