By Leah Rozen
April 12, 1999 12:00 PM

Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Larisa Oleynik, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Or so it would seem these days. The teen film 10 Things I Hate About You is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew plunked down in a contemporary American high school. (You’ll search in vain for Shakespeare’s name; newcomers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith share screenwriting credits.)

Shakespeare’s shrewish Kate is now Kat (Stiles), a sullen senior disdainful of everything and everyone around her. Her father has decreed that Kat’s trendy younger sister Bianca (Oleynik) can’t date until Kat does, prompting one of Bianca’s would-be beaus to offer cash compensation to the toughest boy in school (Ledger) if he’ll date Kat.

You know the rest. Well, maybe not the prom scene. 10 Things is smarter than most adolescent fluff, but it never cuts loose with the unexpected daft zing of Clueless or transcends its pre-cap-and-gown concerns. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Shakespeare goes to the prom