A Look Back: Teen Witch

If movies were (literally) cheese, “Teen Witch” would be a mammoth hunk of Velveeta. It’s slightly less cheesy than “The Worst Witch,” another eighties movie about a young girl discovering that she possesses superpowers, but both feature over-the-top musical numbers, and in “TW’s” case, ends with a prom, as most teen movies seem required to do, where everyone performs as if they’re professional dancers. It was the kind of movie, I would rent from my local video store, back in that era, when all my first choices were gone, and none of the usual fallbacks appeared to be in either. But as an adult, I still find it adorable, although the rappers, who act like a kind of Greek chorus throughout the movie, still make me wonder what the people who made this movie were thinking.

“Teen Witch,” stars Robyn Lively who plays Louise Miller (ever notice how unpopular protagonists always get stuck with dweeby names?), who longs to be seen as more than a study buddy to studly Brad, the BMOC, (Dan Gauthier), but things look bleak on that front until she has a birthday and discovers that she is one in a long line of bona fide witches and now has magical powers. Which she promptly puts to use to get even with a potential date rapist, turn her bratty little brother (Joshua Miller) into a dog, enchant her best friend into a temporary rapper so she can catch eye of the head of the aforementioned rapping trio, and use voodoo (she’s multi-talented) on her teacher who had previously humiliated her. And yes, she becomes the most popular girl in school. We don’t get to see her parents’ reaction to her rather shallow use of her powers, but they do notice their son is better behaved and decide to chalk it up (really) to drugs. In this case, just say yes.

Robyn’s mentor is played by Zelda Rubinstein who has long ago come to terms that she needs to use magic to get people to like her, but of course, eventually, Robyn starts having moral qualms about whether it’s right to enchant Dan – and she eventually, makes an important decision at the prom which leaves her both with the dream guy and her self-respect intact. Looking back, I still can’t figure out why the movie makers thought this film would be improved by adding some of the musical numbers they did, but I guess it doesn’t really matter, if everyone lives happily ever after in the end.

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