Pompom and Circumstance

Criminal cheerleaders in Sugar & Spice give audience a rah deal

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Rated PG-13

That absurd delivery of truth is where the movie works best, for, despite the chaos and nonsense, these girls have their blinders off -- unlike their counterparts in the '80s teen movies McDougall so clearly holds dear. Back in the day, it would have been beyond John Hughes to joke about hard-core lesbianism in a women's prison, but Nelson writes her girls straight into the thick of it, to learn about crime from Kansas' woolly, embittered mother (a wicked Sean Young). Along with a snappy score by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, and Chrissie Hynde's cover of "American Girl," McDougall bashes out a somewhat dumb but undeniably revisionist teen movie about aggressive teen girls. At the very least, she seems to be suggesting that being sweet and horrid beats being surly and horrid.

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