1999's Never Been Kissed is turning 20, and star Drew Barrymore still holds a special place in her heart for it

By Ale Russian
April 09, 2019 01:56 PM

Drew Barrymore is still Josie Grossie at heart.

Never Been Kissed hit theaters 20 years ago on April 9 1999, launching Barrymore as a producer with her Flower Films Company. The actress played Josie, a junior reporter who is tasked with going undercover as a student at a high school in order to better inform parents of their teenager’s lives.

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The only problem is she used to be a nerd, and decides to take her brother’s advice this time on how to be part of the popular crowd. Things get even more complicated when she falls in love for the first time with the English teacher, who doesn’t know she’s not actually a teenager.

Never Been Kissed
Suzanne Hanover/20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The movie allowed Barrymore to play a character that was, and is, deeply relatable to young girls everywhere.

“I wanted to make a movie that encompassed how girls feel,” Barrymore, 44, told Vanity Fair last year. “We’re vulnerable, and we try to be brave. We don’t always feel like we fit in. How do you celebrate who you are at the end of the day for who you really are, not who you think you’re supposed to be? And, you know, we all want a little romance at the end of the day. That film is so close to my heart and I am still Josie Grossie.”

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Barrymore went through her own period of insecurity when she was younger, and she told PEOPLE in 1999 about all the steps she took to try to feel better.

“I gained ail of this weight, I was perming my hair, and I was just trying to do everything I could to fit in!” Barrymore said of her desperate days from age 8 to 14. “As soon as I loosened up, the awkwardness sort of evaporated.”

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Never Been Kissed then and now
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock; CBS via Getty Images

Now, Barrymore produces projects that mean more to her, and that was exactly her vision when she started Flower Films.

“Starting my own production company in 1995 was my way of trying to make my dreams come true,” she told Vanity Fair. “For me, Flower Films was a great way to work with people I loved, we could have so much fun, but we could create stories that I thought were important to tell. Stories about girls and for girls. I wanted to feel like I could watch things that recognized how I felt inside as a girl.”

Never Been Kissed is currently available to stream on HBO.