Don’t ask me why, but early 2000’s teen movies have commandeered my watch list on all of my streaming platforms and I CANNOT STOP WATCHING THEM. There are so many that I have completely forgotten about that give me all the warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feels. I remember when I was in my early teen years watching these movies on repeat and literally never getting sick of them. Which is honesty hilarious because let’s be frank, the acting is subpar and the plot was normally all over the place, but nothing topped a bold Hilary Duff telling shirtless Chad Michael Murray that “waiting for him was like waiting for rain in a drought” (if you know, you know.) I have gone so far as to actually RENT some of these movies just to watch them recently. So I figured, I would curate a list of teen dramas that are probably buried deep in your subconscious so you could enjoy them again, too!
Starring Alexa Vega (yes, the actress from Spy Kids) and Sean Farris (who was an absolute heart throb and didn’t get enough credit). This movie follows a group of friends who is graduating from 8th grade into high school. On the last day of summer, our star Julie (Alexa Vega) invites 3 friends over for a sleepover. They get challenged to a scavenger hunt by the popular girls in the movie and whoever wins the scavenger hunt, wins the coveted lunch spot in high school. This one is a GEM and I remember watching it so much that my DVD player scratched it. So there’s that.
YOU GUYS. This star studded cast consisted of Sara Paxton, Jojo, and Emma Roberts! We love a girl gang. In this movie, best friends Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (Jojo) discover a mermaid in their swim club’s swimming pool. They befriend this mermiad, Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) to help her find love in just 3 days! We see A LOT of questionable fashion choices in this one.
3. Agent Cody Banks
This movie puts Spy Kids to shame. Cody Banks (Frankie Muniez) is recruited by the government to receive special spy training – for teenagers. Yep, that’s right, he is supposed to be in high school in this movie. They give him a mission to spy on his classmate Natalie Conners, played by our teen movie QUEEN, Hilary Duff, in order to get close to her father. Who apparently is a scientist and created some technology that could end the world. Sounds like a case meant for a teenager FOR SURE. Lol.
4. Big Fat Liar
Another Frankie Muniez movie. But we love it. Jason Shepard (Frankie Muniez) is required to write a story for class. Big time movie producer steals his school paper and turns it into a huge block buster film. Jason and his best friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) travel together to the city of Angels to try and steal his paper back – and get some credit for this movie!
5. Uptown Girls
Brittany Murphy is seriously the BEST in this movie. Carefree Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy) is forced to get a job after all of her money has been stolen. She lands a job as a nanny for a young girl who has the complete opposite personality as her. The movie follows their relationship and how they help one another. Dakota Fanning is also in this movie and she is a rockstar. Just all around fantastic.
6. John Tucker Must Die
OK FRIENDS. HEART THROB John Tucker (Jesse Metcalf) dates 3 different girls from 3 different cliques in high school. After they all find out they are dating the same guy, they come together to get a little revenge, and they use their new friend Kate (Brittany Snow) to help them get it. This one is the quintessential teen movie. And the women supporting women vibe in the movie gives me LIFE.
7. Bend It like Beckham
This one is closet to my heart because my mom, sister, and I used to watch it all the time. Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) has very strict Indian parents who do not approve of her playing organized soccer. She joins a semi-pro team behind their backs after her talent was noticed by a member on the team. The whole movie follows Jess as she creates schemes and excuses to hide her soccer games from her family. Kierra Knightly is also in this movie and I completely forgot about her- but her character is fantastic and gives us ALL the mom and teen drama we could want.
8. She’s The Man
This movie makes me belly laugh every time I watch it. Viola Davis (Amanda Bynes) poses as her brother at prep school in order to play soccer on the men’s team at school. She falls in love with her roommate (Channing Tatum) and we get to watch the trainwreck that occurs as she is trying to navigate her way through the situation! LOL. It is hilarious. And if you are in a sour mood, it is a good one to watch.
9. Coyote Ugly
Fun Fact – this is the first PG-13 movie I ever watched and I watched it behind my mom’s back and she probably didn’t even know it until this very moment (hi mom). Violet Sanford heads to New York to pursue a singing career. She gets a job at a bar called Coyote Ugly and becomes super successful as a barmaid. Her big dreams of being a singer get thrown to the sidelines while she works at Coyote Ugly and becomes QUITE the sensation!
10. New York Minute
First, we just need to start by saying WE LOVE MARY KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN. Twin sisters, Jane and Roxy Ryan, are super different from each other. Jane is a straigh-laced honors student, while Roxy regularly skips school and tries her hand at rock n roll. They both make their way into Manhattan for different reasons and are being tracked by the truancy officer! They spend the day trying to escape him – and get into lots of trouble along the way. Here’s the thing guys… I don’t think there is a Mary Kate and Ashely Olsen movie I do not like… is that embarrassing?
BONUS – A Cinderella Story
This is only a bonus because honestly, you should really know this one already.
Sam (Hilary Duff) is a teenager in California who is working at her stepmother’s diner after her father passed away. As all of us did in the early 2000’s, she started chatting anonymously online with a guy. They agree to meet in person at their school dance, but when Sam shows up she realizes that her secret pen pal is the star of the school, Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray). And Austin Ames does not recognize Sam even though all Sam is wearing is a dress and a mask that covers about ¼ of her face. I will not let that go.
I hope you had as much fun reading through these as I did writing about them! And I hope you go back and watch a few of these just for fun! What are some of your fave early 2000’s movies? Let me know!