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Never Been Kissed is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Raja Gosnell and stars Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Leelee Sobieski, Jeremy Jordan, Molly Shannon, Garry Marshall, John C. Reilly and James Franco in his film debut.


Josie Geller is an insecure 25-year-old copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times who has never had a real relationship. One day, her editor-in-chief, Rigfort, assigns her to report undercover at a high school to help parents become more aware of their children's lives.

Her first day at South Glen South High School is miserable. Josie reverts to the old geek persona that ruined her first high school career. She also has an unfortunate run-in with three obnoxious popular girls, Kirsten, Gibby and Kristin, and the school's most attractive and popular student, Guy Perkins. Josie loses hope but is reassured when a kind-hearted nerd named Aldys befriends her. Aldys, who loathes Guy and his gang, invites Josie to join The Denominators, a group of intelligent students.

Josie develops a crush on her English teacher, Sam Coulson, and becomes the top student in his class. After reciting a romantic excerpt from Shakespeare to Sam, Josie has horrible flashbacks to when she read a romantic poem aloud in class to her high school crush, a popular boy named Billy Prince, who later asked her to their senior prom, making her dream come true. However, on the night of the prom, Billy arrives with another girl and both of them hurl eggs and insults at Josie, humiliating her and breaking her heart.

One night while out driving with Aldys, Josie encounters Guy and his gang at a local hangout called "The Court" where promiscuity and underage drinking take place. Her managing editor Augustus "Gus" Strauss loses patience with Josie after a rival paper scoops The Court story, and orders Josie to become friends with the popular kids. He arranges for her to wear a hidden camera, and soon the whole office becomes obsessed with her story.

Josie confides in her brother Rob about her fears. Rob, who was their high school's most popular boy in his teens, urges her to let go of her old self and start anew. To help her, Rob enrolls as a student and becomes an instant hit. He then uses his influence to draw Josie into the cool crowd, much to the dismay of Aldys.

Sam and Josie grow closer, but Sam struggles with his feelings as he thinks she's a student. Guy and Josie attend the prom as Rosalind and Orlando from Shakespeare's As You Like It. Anita, Gus and Josie's other co-workers watch through the camera and are overjoyed as she is voted prom queen. As Guy dances with Aldys as an alleged act of friendship, the mean girls attempt to dump dog food over Aldys. Outraged, Josie throws her crown away and reveals her true identity. She praises Aldys for her kindness and warns the students that one's persona in high school means nothing in the real world. Sam is hurt by her lies and states he wants nothing to do with her. Also angered is Rob, who as a phony student received a second chance at baseball. Josie, ultimately making amends, secures him a coaching job.

Josie vows to give Gus a story and writes an account of her experience. In it, she admits she's never been kissed, describes the students of South Glen South, and avows her love for Sam; the entire city is moved by it. She writes she will stand in the middle of the baseball field and wait for Sam to come and kiss her. Josie waits, but the clock runs out with no sign of Sam. On the verge of giving up... cheers, then a booming roar, as Sam emerges to give her a romantic kiss. The movie ends with Sam telling her though it took him a long time to get where he is, he finally is here and then they kiss again.


  • Drew Barrymore as Josie Geller
  • David Arquette as Rob Geller
  • Michael Vartan as Sam Coulson
  • Leelee Sobieski as Aldys
  • Molly Shannon as Anita
  • John C. Reilly as Augustus "Gus" Strauss
  • Jeremy Jordan as Guy Perkins
  • Jessica Alba as Kirsten Liosis
  • Jordan Ladd as Gibby Zerefski
  • Marley Shelton as Kristin Davis
  • Garry Marshall as Rigfort
  • James Franco as Jason
  • Cory Hardrict as Packer
  • Denny Kirkwood as Billy Prince
  • Marissa Jaret Winokur as Sheila
  • Maya McLaughlin as Lara
  • Giuseppe Andrews as Denominator
  • Alex Solowitz as Brett
  • Octavia Spencer as Cynthia
  • Branden Williams as Tommy
  • Cress Williams as George
  • Sean Whalen as Merkin
  • Martha Hackett as Mrs. Knox
  • Jenny Bicks as Miss Haskell
  • Katie Lansdale as Tracy


Main article: Never Been Kissed (soundtrack)


Filming locations

  • South Glen High School was filmed at John Burroughs Middle School located in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles at 600 South McCadden Place.
  • Josie's childhood home is located at 368 North Ridgewood Place in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.
  • Nana's coffee shop where Josie and Aldys have lunch is the Monrovia Coffee Company located at 425 South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, CA.
  • The Tiki Post where Rob worked is now a Cold Stone Creamery located at 408 South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, Ca.
  • The exterior scenes for the prom were filmed at 4526 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. The interiors were filmed at the Ebell located at 743 South Lucerne Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Josie's office and job scenes were filmed in Chicago and readers of the Chicago Sun-Times were filmed on the Chicago Avenue stop on the CTA Brown Line.


Box office

The film was released in North America on April 9, 1999 in 2,455 theaters. It grossed $55.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $29.1 million in other markets, for a worldwide total of $84.6 million against a production budget of $25 million.

Critical reception

Critics gave mixed reviews to the film, with a "Rotten" score of 55% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes based on 89 reviews, making it Raja Gosnell's highest rated film. Its consensus reads: "Unoriginal and unremarkable high school satire adds little to the genre." Film critic Roger Ebert was not as harsh on the film, giving it 3 out of 4 stars and saying, "The movie's screenplay is contrived and not blindingly original, but Barrymore illuminates it with sunniness, and creates a lovable character."


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated




External links