Never underestimate the importance of a film title - not only can it tell you what the movie's about, it can also give you an idea of how good that movie's going to be. Which is why the name of this teen-aimed romantic comedy is so perfect: it's not funny, it's not romantic and it certainly ain't very imaginative.
Boys And Girls comes across like a homage to When Harry Met Sally... made by someone who never actually saw it, but has a friend who told them all about it. It has every scene you'd expect in a rom-com... because you've already seen them in every rom-com. The path of Ryan (Prinze Jr) and Jennifer's (Forlani) friendship - from antagonism to closeness to jealousy masking true feelings - is so predictable that you'll know how it ends before you've even finished reading this sentence.
Adding insult to injury, the join-the-dots story is also told incredibly badly, with important scenes (most notably, the ones in which Ryan and Jennifer grow closer) reduced to pop-tune accompanied montages. They help sell the soundtrack, sure, but that's about all they're good for. Director Robert "She's All That" Iscove also skips through the development of Ryan and Jennifer's friendship, dropping in key moments at random without ever indicating how much time has passed.
The casting, meanwhile, is as bad as the plotting. Forlani, who does so well as careful, sensitive types, plays a bit of a free spirit, while Prinze Jr, who can't help but look like he's coasting through life, has to be the kind of guy who frets and plans everything down to the last detail. Thankfully, however, both Jason Biggs and Amanda Detmer, who play Ryan and Jennifer's equally insecure friends, at least provide some form of relief - although why Biggs, who was so great in American Pie, continues to waste himself on adolescent dross like this is a mystery.
From the director who brought you She's All That comes another frustratingly uninventive rom-com-by-numbers which attempts to showcase the limited talents of Freddie Prinze Jr. Trust us, you've seen it all before. Many, many times.