All I Wanna Do

Alternate Title: Strike!
Director: Sarah Kernochan

When the students of the fictitious Miss Godard’s School for Girls finds out that they’re merging with the comparable local boy’s school to become coed in 1963 Connecticut, it’s up to the D.A.R to save them. Not D.A.R as in the Daughters of the American Revolution but the D.A.R. as headed up by Verena von Stefan (Kirsten Dunst) in writer/director Sarah Kernochan’s All I Wanna Do with their initials standing for Daughters of the American Ravioli. Fond of not only eating their favorite ravioli from Chef Boyardee but of dreaming and scheming, the small group of girls recruits newcomer Odette (Gaby Hoffman) to their lair after the rebellious high school girl from Detroit is shipped off to the east coast when her shocked parents discover she had made “unladylike” plans regarding her relationship with her boyfriend. Predictably, the brainy, politically conscious Odette clashes with her classmates until they band together to go on strike (and indeed the film’s alternate title is Strike!). Concocting a highly unbelievable but hilarious plan for sabotaging the boys when they arrive for the dance and mixer, along with getting even with goody-two-shoes nemesis Abby Sawyer (Rachel Leigh Cook) and defying the school head Miss Mc Vane (Lynn Redgrave), this amusing time-waster produced by Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail writer/director Nora Ephron is intelligent and high-spirited fare for teenage girls. In addition, it may also ring a few bells for not only women who were teens in the 60’s but for those of us (including myself) who spent any time in part of a single-sex education environment and recall both the many positives and (as far as I’m concerned) few negatives of promoting self-esteem and intellect among young women away from the unfortunately, typically male dominated academic environment.
* On a sad note: this review is dedicated in loving memory of one of my best friends and talented academic sisters who we lost at the tender age of 22 last week. To A.L.H. -- while we may never recover from your death, we will always be grateful for the friendship you offered us in your inspiring life.*