If you want to see a movie about the 1980’s, then Teen Witch is that quintessential film. It has everything that was good and bad about that decade and while you might groan over some of it, whether having lived through it or not, you cannot help but think it had a bit of charm. This film is a light piece of fluff that will entertain for an hour and a half with its easy-going story and the solid performances from its actors. It features a fairly common and clichéd tale about the ugly duckling who turns into a swan with a couple of twists here and there, namely being that the lead character is a witch who can essentially do anything she puts her mind to. And of course, what sixteen-year-old would not run amuck with their powers if given half a chance? To be fair, Robyn Lively’s character does not really go all crazy as she simply does not really have it in her to do that, but if you could become the most popular kid in school, become beautiful and get the guy, then why would you not want to if it was as easy as snapping your fingers?
Louise Miller is that ugly duckling of this story. She dresses in the worst clothes possible, and you think she might be a sixty-year-old woman instead of the sixteen-year-old that she is supposed to be. Putting her terrible fashion sense aside, Louise is in love with Brad who is in love with somebody else, which is always the way of things. One day, after getting run off the road on her bicycle, she meets Madame Serena who foretells that Louise will come into some strange and wonderful powers on her birthday which of course, she does. Things soon go from bland to fantastic as Louise uses her new powers to bring her what seems like happiness until she realizes that power is not everything and it is better to be liked for who you are and not what you seem to be.
There is a lot of fun to be had in this film including the big hair, denim, witchcraft and a few musical numbers just to top it off. Add to that those scenes that feature a trio of the whitest white rappers the world has ever been witness to as they lay down the beat and it gives this movie just that little extra bit of something special. Simply put, it is a picture that you cannot possibly fail to find enjoyment in. While the movie does provide that lesson-learned and moral ending as many films regularly have, it did so after running through all the regular tropes that teen comedies tend to do. There are the popular girls who look down on those that are not, as well as the head jock who is impossibly handsome that also fails to notice those lower down on the social ladder. There is the pining after what you cannot have and the fights that take place between those that used to be friends after one becomes popular and the other does not and of course, there is the big dance where everything finally wraps up.
Starring Robyn Lively as Louise Miller, the heroine of the film, she plays the pretty girl who is supposed to be ugly and unpopular and of course it is unbelievable, but the same premise is used in almost every teen movie of this sort and you simply have to accept it. The other actor, or more appropriately actress that makes this picture as delightful as it is and worth viewing is Zelda Rubinstein who plays the elder witch and who you might recognize from Picket Fences or Poltergeist. On the whole, the performances are what make this movie enjoyable more than anything else, though the curiosity of that abomination of a decade called the 80’s will draw you in as well. Really, the movie is a cheese-fest, but it is a good one.