• New Line has sold this movie short and filed it as a Romantic Comedy but I must stress it is not. It's a teen drama with some romance and humor. Think of it as a teen version of American Beauty. Though it's all rather light, How to Deal does have some seriousness and important parts.

    Mandy Moore (marry me?) is Halley Martin, a teenage girl who refuses to believe that true love exists (like me). Her best pal does but is heartbroken when her boyfriend drops dead on the football field of a heart defect (err...like me). Halley's parents have split and found others, her sister is engaged to some guy and all they do is argue. It seems like the best way to deal with love is to avoid it.

    All that changes when Halley meets Macon (stupid name) a geeky Star Wars nerd. He seems like a dweeb at first but his character grows on you, as he does Halley. He's played by Trent Ford and on the cover he's wearing a white vest and is marketed as a sexually neutral, non-threatening pretty boy (Orlando Bloom, Justin Timberlake etc) but that ain't him or his character at all and he never appears in a vest at any point in the movie. I expected to hate him just because of the cover but that ain't so. In the course of her steadily strengthening relationship with Macom (really, what a stupid name!) Halley learns how to deal with teen pregnancy, being a bridesmaid, her dope-smoking grandmother, car crashes, stepmoms, stepdads etc. Stuff that every kid learns. Real kids, not the kids that make love to pastries or live in mansions, which are the only 2 types of kids Hollywood thinks exist.

    Taken from 2 separate novels by Sarah Dessen called 'Someone Like You' and 'That Summer' it's possible that How to Deal might have a sequel. And if it does its literary roots guarantee it will a better sequel than most.

    I recommend How to Deal for anyone who is sick to death of endless American Pie clones or Harold and Kumar or Maid in Manhatten/Laws of Attraction/Two Weeks Notice/Sweet Home Alabama/blah blah blah. It's not a romantic comedy, not by a long shot. It's far more realistic than that and it doesn't insult your intelligence. Give it a go.

    The DVD is in great-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. The extras are actually quite good for a change, one of them focusing on Young Adult Literature and it's definitely a good DVD for the price.