Bomb Rating: 

Apparently there's some mandate in Hollywood that Julia Stiles must be in every teen movie based on a Shakespeare play. It's also rather interesting that she follows up her turn in "Save the Last Dance" with yet another role where she plays opposite an African-American love interest. One can only imagine producers sitting around a table talking in hushed tones about casting Julia because they know for certain she doesn't have a problem with the "black thing."

In "O," Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the star of a prep school basketball team. He's dating the Dean's (John Heard) daughter, Desi (Julia Stiles), and is close friends with the Coach's (Martin Sheen) son, Hugo (Josh Hartnett). But little does Odin know that Hugo is plotting against him because Hugo simply isn't getting enough of Daddy's attention. The whole plot involves making Odin think Desi is cheating on him.

Fortunately, the characters in this film talk like real, modern day people -- it's not teenagers spouting Shakespearean dialogue. Unfortunately, director Tim Black Nelson crams the film with enough rap music to ensure several profitable soundtrack albums. However, he can't help himself and toward the end of the film, once the denouement has occurred, reverts to traditional classical music. Maybe this was a favor to theater managers to clear the kids out of the theater a little early.

I don't know how many Shakespeare films audiences need be subjected to, but this makes it about five too many. I say we find this Shakespeare character and kick his ass.

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