Meet the Stratford sisters: pretty and popular Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), who has never had a date; and Kat (Julia Stiles), her older sibling, an ill-tempered harridan whose acerbic wit is matched only by her steadfast determination to alienate any guy who might be remotely interested in her.
Unfortunately, strict rules in the Stratford household by the single father (Larry Miller), who is an obstetrician with a clientele of unwed, young mothers, forbids Bianca from having a boyfriend until her odious sister has one of her own. A situation that seems highly improbable considering Kat is a social disaster.
But, what if a guy was paid to woo the lass? Weird but attractive Patrick (Heath Ledger) suddenly finds himself getting cash to break down the walls surrounding Kat. His employer is Joey (Andrew Keegan), an obnoxious tube sock model who wants to get into Bianca's pants. He's not alone though, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a new kid in school, is also after Bianca. His motives, though, are purely romantic.
The movie takes place in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington at Padua High, a building that was originally laid out to be a hotel but was later turned in to an actual high school, Stadium High, 1,900 students.
The film is funny, lively and enjoyable. The comedy is built around a central plot of teens with lots of pleasant touches and characters that are genuinely hilarious, such as Mr. Morgan (Daryl Mitchell), a black teacher with no patience and loads of charm. Also, the porno-writing guidance counselor, Ms.Perky (Allison Janney), who is always thinking pevertedly.
What raises this venture a few notches above your normal acne fare is an extremely clever screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, TV director Gil Junger's never strident direction.
It isn't every Shakespearean play that lends itself to a modern up dating, but one thing Americans are good at is co