Teen Witch (1989)


“Teen Witch” is one of the last relics of the eighties that isn’t just a fantasy for teen girls based around the joy of superficiality and empty popularity, but something of a cheesy comedy that absolutely embraces its idiocy time and time again. The unapologetic cheesiness and truly awful values of “Teen Witch” is often so bad, and yet so damn charming to endure. You almost have to admire it for building up to an anti-climax that boasts about how great it is to have the guy of your dreams, even if he’s as deep as a Koi pond. Dorian Walker’s film also dares to embrace the hip hop genre with a trio of young white men from the suburbs. Thank goodness for Larry Weir.

Before Sabrina made her debut on the big screen, there was Louise, a red haired hopeless romantic who is told by master witch Zelda Rubenstein that she is to develop the powers of a witch on her sixteenth birthday. Louise just began attending her new high school and struggles to find her place among the popular crowd, which includes a shallow alpha female, a trio of aggressive white rappers, and an English teacher whose discipline methods border on cruel and often abusive. What’s a girl to do but use magic both of the black and white variety to accomplish every personal goal she has, as well as learn something about herself in the process?

“Teen Witch” delivers consistently surreal comedy that doubles as good old fashioned innocent fun, like Louise’s weird little brother who loves to eat, as well as Louise’s eventual creation of a voodoo doll she uses to get back at her mean English teacher. This payback involves him stripping nude in front of his class, and walking through a car wash. Director Dorian Walker also tries to work “Teen Witch” as a legitimate musical and fails quite humorously. For unsuspecting folks, it must be quite a sight when they realize that “Teen Witch” isn’t just dead set on being a musical, but manages to deliver some really clunky musical numbers in the process.

The performers can barely lip synch, and the dance numbers are poorly staged. It also doesn’t help that the songs barely register as catchy with a locker room number called “I Like Boys,” and Louise’s friend Polly having a rap battle with three of the most white bread rappers in history on a street corner to the tune of “Top That!” While I poke fun at “Teen Witch,” it’s a cult classic that earns its place in the arena mainly for being such an oddity and unusual amalgam of comedy, fantasy, coming of age, and musical. And it’s tough to hate on Robin Lively who is absolutely adorable as protagonist Louise, who spends most of the movie spewing charm without even trying. She’s well cast, and it’s too bad the movie never took off with a follow-up.

Sure the moral of “Teen Witch” is terrible, but I think the world is ready for a sequel to “Top That!”