Never Been Kissed

Never Been Kissed is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Raja Gosnell and starring 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.

Never Been Kissed
Never Been Kissed film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaja Gosnell
Written byAbby Kohn
Marc Silverstein
Produced bySandy Isaac
Nancy Juvonen
CinematographyAlex Nepomniaschy
Edited byDebra Chiate
Marcelo Sansevieri
Music byDavid Newman
Fox 2000 Pictures
Flower Films
Bushwood Pictures
Never Been Kissed Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 9, 1999 (1999-04-09)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$84.6 million[1]

In 2020, Barrymore reprised her role from Never Been Kissed as a sketch on The Drew Barrymore Show.


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 experience. 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 falls in love with 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 prevents the incident, 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 with a countdown 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, soft cheers from the crowd give way to a booming roar, as Sam emerges to give her a romantic kiss. The movie ends with Sam telling her it took him forever to get here, a sentiment with which Josie agrees as they kiss again.



Music from the Motion Picture Never Been Kissed
Compilation album by
ReleasedApril 9, 1999
GenreAlternative rock
1."Never You Mind"Semisonic4:09
2."Standing By"Willis2:55
3."Lucky Denver Mint"Jimmy Eat World3:26
4."Problem"Remy Zero3:30
5."Erase/Rewind"The Cardigans3:37
6."Closer to Myself"Kendall Payne3:23
7."At My Most Beautiful"R.E.M.3:35
8."Catch a Falling Star"Block3:34
9."Candy in the Sun"Swirl 3604:17
10."Until You Loved Me"The Moffatts3:27
11."Cumbia de los Muertos"Ozomatli3:34
12."Watching the Wheels"John Lennon and Yoko Ono3:31
13."Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want"The Smiths1:53
14."Innocent Journey"Sonichrome2:40
15."Don't Worry Baby"The Beach Boys2:08
16."A Girl Named Happiness (Never Been Kissed)"Jeremy Jordan3:29
Song appearances
  • During the scene where Josie and Aldys are talking to each other on the football field, the band plays the theme song from The Simpsons.
  • During a scene where Josie is remembering her bullying in high school, Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop" is played.
  • "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" by Cutting Crew plays when Josie first sees Guy entering the classroom.
  • American ska band Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A. submitted a song named "Josie" for the film's soundtrack. The band had previously released a single titled "Jolene" which was about their tour van, but when given the opportunity to submit a song for the soundtrack, they simply replaced the name Jolene with Josie to make it relevant to Barrymore's character in the film. It was later rejected.
  • The morning after Josie's experience with marijuana, "Me Myself and I" by De La Soul is heard playing.
  • When Josie is remembering her first senior prom, Madonna's song "Like a Prayer" can be heard in the background.
  • The single "Lucky Denver Mint" by Jimmy Eat World is featured in the film's soundtrack, and was the only single from their album Clarity to consequently gain airplay on popular American radio.
  • A significant amount of the song "Heaven Tonight" by Hole appears in the film.
  • The Latin funk band Ozomatli makes a cameo.
  • During the climax, in the scene when Josie receives her first kiss from Sam on the baseball field, the song "Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys is played.
  • While Josie and Sam are dancing, the song "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths can be heard in the background.
  • The song "Erase/Rewind" by The Cardigans is played, in the background, towards the end of the movie, at the prom night when the prom king and queen dance.
  • The song "Watching the Wheels" by John Lennon appears in the movie.
  • Kottonmouth Kings' "Suburban Life" plays when Josie pulls up to the school and her car backfires.
  • The song "Peppyrock" by BTK is featured in the movie.

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[citation needed]
  • Josie's childhood home is located at 368 North Ridgewood Place in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.[citation needed]
  • Nana's coffee shop where Josie and Aldys have lunch is the Monrovia Coffee Company located at 425 South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, CA.[citation needed]
  • The Tiki Post where Rob worked is now a Cold Stone Creamery located at 408 South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, Ca.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.
  • Jackie Robinson Stadium was the location used[2][3][4] for the climactic scene[5][6] in which Josie waits for her first real kiss from Sam.


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.[7]

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."[8] 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."[9]

The film has since garnered a cult following.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] For the 20th anniversary of its initial release on April 9, 2019, Drew Barrymore posted the following on social media:[17]

Never Been Kissed was my partner Nancy Fallon and my first official movie at Flower Films. All we wanted to do was make something that felt like the way so many of us feel growing up. It’s raw and ridiculous, beautiful and helps you decide what is important and what isn’t. But we also loved humor. And if pain isn’t mixed with insane laughter, then it doesn’t work. Humor and humility are linked like besties! And everyone feels vulnerability while they are figuring out who they are and what they stand for. It also helps when you have the best cast and great music and everyone is making the same story! Josie Grossie forever.

Television series

The November 6, 2020 episode of The Drew Barrymore Show featured Barrymore in the "Drew's News" segment revive her teen character from Never Been Kissed, Josie "Grossie" Geller.[18] Sporting her satin pink prom dress, matching scrunchie and braces, Josie stepped straight out of 1988 for the bit—with no knowledge of anything that's happened since then. Josie subsequently became a recurring sketch comedy part of the series, with Barrymore interviewing[19] the cast of Dear Evan Hansen[20] in-character[21] as Josie.[22] Barrymore once more portrayed Josie in a segment for the December 13, 2021 episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, when she interviewed Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle,[23] who were themselves, in character as Maya Ishii-Peters and Anna Kone respectively from the TV series PEN15.


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


  1. ^ a b "Never Been Kissed". Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  2. ^ Demster, Chas. "Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles". It Was Filmed There.
  3. ^ "Never Been Kissed - Filming Locations".
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Sports Venues Starring in Movies & TV Shows". Discover Los Angeles. Mar 13, 2019.
  5. ^ "Secrets of Never Been Kissed". E! Online. October 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Jackie Robinson Stadium from "Never Been Kissed"". IAMNOTASTALKER. April 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Never Been Kissed". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Never Been Kissed". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "Never Been Kissed". Roger Ebert. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  10. ^ Kelly, Juno (May 1, 2019). "CULT FILM 'NEVER BEEN KISSED' TURNS 20". LOVE.
  11. ^ "'Never Been Kissed' turns 20". Channel 3000. April 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "'Never Been Kissed' turns 20". April 9, 2019.
  14. ^ Respers France, Lisa (April 9, 199). "'Never Been Kissed' turns 20". Houston Style Magazine.
  15. ^ Chavez, Lizet (November 7, 2020). "Drew Barrymore Reprised 'Never Been Kissed' 90s Romcom Role for 'Drew's News'".
  16. ^ Cartwright, Lexie (November 2, 2019). "Why former 'It' girl left Hollywood". The Daily Examiner.
  17. ^ Barrymore, Drew (April 10, 2019). "Never Been Kissed". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24.
  18. ^ "Drew Barrymore Revives Josie Grossie from Never Been Kissed on Her Talk Show". TooFab. November 6, 2020.
  20. ^ Jones, Marcus (September 24, 2021). "Drew Barrymore reprises her Never Been Kissed role to interview Dear Evan Hansen cast". Entertainment Weekly.
  21. ^ Klien, Brennan (September 26, 2021). "Drew Barrymore Interviews Evan Hansen Cast As Never Been Kissed Character". Screen Rant.
  22. ^ Hughes, William (September 24, 2021). "Dear god, Drew Barrymore interviewed the Dear Evan Hansen cast as Josie from Never Been Kissed". AV Club.
  23. ^ Weiss, Norman (December 14, 2021). "Drew Barrymore's Josie Grossie interviews Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as their PEN15 characters".
  24. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.

External links