Here on Earth [2000]

Slumming among the locals of a small New York town, Kelley Morse (Chris Klein), graduating senior at a posh prep school and all-around insufferable rich kid, engages the testosterone of one of the hicks (Josh Hartnett) when he flirts with the guy's girlfriend, Samantha (LeeLee Sobieski). A car chase ensues, resulting in Samantha's family's diner getting blown up, which in turn lands the boys in hot water with the law. The upshot is the snotty rich kid is sentenced to help the locals rebuild the diner. A romance develops between Kelley and Samantha, apparently because they like a particular Robert Frost poem. So now they're deep, see. But then their love is tested when Samantha contracts Ali MacGraw disease. You know, that's the sudden disease Ali McGraw gets in Love Story--really an excuse to emphasize the strength of the characters' love. You don't know what you got till it's gone, right? This film would be pretty bad if the performances weren't so engaging, especially LeeLee Sobieski's, who seems to be channeling Helen Hunt in this movie. Though Chris Klein never makes us believe for an instant that his arrogant character could make the changes he does, or that his and Sobieski's characters could ever really get together. The script is too thin to support any motivations, and the film falls into formula weepy territory to appeal to teen tear ducts. Lovers of weepies might overlook the film's plot weaknesses in favor of the strong performances and the prospect of a good cry. --Jim Gay

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