The only difference between "Here on Earth" and the recent glut of teen comedies is that this film isn't played for laughs.
Not that this silly marshmallow of a movie doesn't earn its share of howls. In fact, it's hard to think of any recent film that features more ridiculous, cornball dialogue.
Also, as the film progresses, it becomes readily apparent that this is simply a thinly disguised rip-off of one of 1970's most undeserving box-office hits (saying more than that would reveal nearly everything that happens as if the movie isn't predictable enough to begin with).
More unpardonable, however, is the fact that "Here on Earth" wastes the talents of a good young cast, especially Chris Klein ("Election," "American Pie"), who stars as Kelly Morse, a cocky Massachusetts prep school student.
Kelly is preparing to graduate as the valedictorian of his class at least until fate, and his own arrogance, upset those plans. When he takes his graduation present (a sports car) out for a spin, Kelly clashes with a "townie," Jasper (Josh Hartnett, sporting one of the worst hairdos in recent cinema). Their resulting high-speed car chase winds up destroying a local diner.
So, both teens are sentenced to work with the crews rebuilding the restaurant. Needless to say, Kelley isn't thrilled to be stuck there and miss his graduation ceremonies.
That is, until Jasper's childhood sweetheart, Samantha (Leelee Sobieski), takes a shine to the sulky newcomer and the two carry on an illicit romance.
From there, things get even more ridiculous and predictable, right down to a dreadful "deep" ending that will elicit equal amounts of laughter and head-scratching.
You almost have to feel sorry for the inexperienced filmmakers who are responsible for this mess (director Mark Pizanarski and screenwriter Michael Seitzman, both making inauspicious debuts). Almost.
Even the performances aren't very good. Klein and Sobieski don't really have much chemistry, and their acting is surprisingly wooden, given their previous film work.
"Here on Earth" is rated PG-13 for scattered profanity, violence (some fisticuffs) and use of crude slang and gestures.