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as with any gen-x mtv movie ( like last year's dead man on campus ) , the movie is marketed for a primarily male audience as indicated by its main selling points : sex and football .
those two items , wrapped in a guilty-pleasure package , are sure to snare a sizeable box office chunk initially , but sales will decline for two reasons .
first , the football sequences are nothing new , nor can they be ; the sports genre isn't mainstream and it's been retread to death .
second , the sex is just bad .
despite the appearance of a whipped cream bikini or the all-night strip-club party , there's nothing even remotely tantalizing .
the acting is mostly mediocre , not including the fantastic jon voight .
cultivating his usual sliminess , voight gives an unexpectedly standout performance as west canaan coyotes head coach bud kilmer .
kilmer is the driving force behind the coyotes' twenty-two conference championships and two state titles in thirty years ; this year he plans to make it twenty-three .
unfortunately , when his star quarterback , lance harbor ( paul walker ) , goes down for the count , he's got to rely on the unreliable abilities of backup john moxon ( james van der beek ) .
moxon leads the team through its last four games , and then must cope with his newfound stardom , the effect it has on his relationship with girlfriend julie ( amy smart ) , and other temptations that abound in football-crazy west canaan .
most regions of the country are not nearly as football-crazy as texas , and so the atmosphere is likely to be lost on most .
similarly , the set design is wrong for a high school setting : the teams are decked out with sparkling uniforms , radio headsets ( which never seem to work , however , and instead require coaches to signal plays manually ) , and even a giant bronze statue of coach kilmer .
these elements ( as well as the heavy drinking and carousing ) might be more appropriate on a college campus -- but mtv's core audience is the high school demographic .
this focus is further emphasized by the casting : james van der beek , of tv's " dawson's creek , " is an understandable choice for the reluctant hero , although he never manages to do anything with the role .
other stars are similarly young and unmemorable .
there's not much that goes right about varsity blues , and there's not much to like about it , either .
everything herein has already been done , and if it hasn't , the movie manages to botch it one way or another .
this is certainly missable .
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