Mandy Moore stars as a girl who vows to avoid falling into love with it's problems, but then falls in love.
How To Deal (2003)
Directors: Clare Kilner
Producers: William Teitler And Erica Huggins
Writers: Neena Beber Based On Two Novels By Sarah Dessen
Features: Widescreen And Fullscreen, Four Deleted Scenes With Commentary, Cast/ Director Commentary, Four Featurettes, "How To Deal With Young Adult Literature" Featurette, Two Music Videos, Theatrical Trailer, DVD-Rom Content, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, English Stereo Surround Sound, With English And Spanish Subtitles.
Halley Martin...Mandy Moore
Lydia Martin...Allison Janney
Macon Forrester...Trent Ford
Scarlett Smith...Alexandra Holden
Grandma Martin...Nina Foch
Ian Martin...Peter Gallagher
Lewis Beckwith...McKenzie Astin
"How To Deal" has an interesting premise that it teases at, but ultimately fails to deliver. This is a movie about a girl named Halley Martin who sees that there is no such thing as everlasting love by observing the people around her. Deciding to stay away from love so she will never be disappointed Halley almost immediately gets involved with a boy. I mean did I miss something? One and one is two. If a girl decides to avoid love why is she in love the next moment? Is this a knock on female logic? Did the screenwriters not understand their own screenplay? This is what happens in this movie. So immediately I have to knock it down a few pegs even with the charming Mandy Moore playing the confused Halley Martin.
The movie begins with Halley Martin in her room talking about all the things that happen in life and how you have to learn to deal with them. Then she goes downstairs where her divorced mother has just learned that her ex-husband is getting married. At the next instant, Halley's sister announces that she and her boyfriend are going to get married too. Disgusted at these turns of events, Halley exits the house to go by her best friend, Scarlett's, house where she finds Scarlett(Alexandra Holden) making out with a new boyfriend. Love in some form or another is all around and Halley vows to have none of it. That is until she and Scarlett meet Scarlett's boyfriend's best pal, Macon, as played by Trent Ford. Macon tells Halley that he is using a Jedi mind trick to have her ask him out. Regardless, they are soon going out even though Halley claims they are just friends. Scarlett soon finds out she is pregnant. All these changes are hitting Halley and now she will have to learn how to deal with it all.
As I said earlier, the main plot makes no sense. The girl says she will avoid love, but I sure couldn't tell. So with the main plot sinking right off the bat, the sub-plots don't mean much. I liked the actors and they were good in their roles. The photography was well done. This is just a stupid movie. It's the kind of film that might make a good DVD rental when you don't want to think hard. Everyone has a time like that. At least once or twice a year this will occur so "How To Deal" could be the appropriate choice for that moment of weakness. Mandy Moore's charisma or whatever it is she emanates makes this DVD watchable.
This movie never should have incorporated two of Sarah Dessen's novels, "Something Like You" and "That Summer." The film feels rushed especially as Halley spends zip time resisting falling in love. The pregnancy angle could have been dumped and not affected the main story in "How To Deal."
The DVD of "How To Deal" is loaded with DVD extra features. This DVD has a commentary by Mandy Moore, Alexandra Holden and the director, Clare Kilner. Since Kilner has a British accent it is easy to separate her from the other two voices. By listening carefully you can distinguish between Mandy Moore and Alexandra Holden.
One fascinating thing discovered near the end of the commentary is that the commentary was made before the film had it's premiere at a movie theater. Somehow I had the idea that the participants had simply been reunited much later for the DVD features. Apparently, the studio had the foresight to get everything out of the way during one time period. This makes sense and, I assume, was less costly.
Mandy Moore, in the commentary, talks about how inept she is at yoga which you see her doing as "How To Deal" opens up. She says no matter how many classes she took she couldn't 'get it.' Later, Moore discusses how she is a terrible dancer and sounds embarrassed to discuss her short dance scenes when they come up.
The three women sound like they are having a fun time together on the commentary. They have the habit of stopping and talking about what someone on the screen is wearing. Moore points out that she purposely wore one blouse on two different days in the movie to show that Halley could wash and wear an outfit again as a real girl would.
I found the commentary by these three females to be very entertaining. It was fun to listen to them and many things in the movie were explained.
The DVD contains a section that has two music videos of songs that were performed in the movie. Skye Sweetham, a Canadian girl, and Liz Phair are the artists. Liz Phair does "Why Can't I" and Skye Sweetham does "Billy S."
There is a "How To Deal" film trailer. The way it is edited gives the film a different slant. There is also another film trailer section that has five other movie trailers by New Line Home Entertainment.
Another DVD section has three short featurettes on Mandy Moore, Trent Ford, and Clare Kilner, respectively. The three cast members cross pollinate each others features. We learn that Mandy Moore alway travels with her three small dogs. Trent Ford is a male model who was born in Ohio, but was raised in England and has a British accent. Clare Kilner says she started out in England as a stage manager for plays, but always wanted to do movies.
A feature that lasts twenty-eight minutes is called "How To Deal With Young Adult Literature." This gives a historical overview of young people's literature which seemed to have really gotten started in 1910 by Edward Stratemeyer who wrote a plethora of titles like Tom Swift, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and others. He used a different pen name for each series, sometimes even a women's. Teenage girls are interviewed and so are mainly female authors. Sarah Dessen, the author of the books that "How To Deal" is based on, is in this documentary too.
This DVD will appeal to girls and Mandy Moore fans. The story is weak though Mandy Moore is easy on the eyes. The DVD of "How To Deal" gets three stars out of five. The movie itself, wavers between two and three stars. The DVD extras take it to three stars. The quality of the picture and sound for this DVD is excellent.