Booksmart


Viewed – 06 March 2021 Netflix

Two straight-laced best friends (Kaitlyn Dever & Lady Bird’s Bernie Feldstein) who have always put studying and grades before fun and games … decide to have a night to remember on the eve of graduation. However, they end up learning more about themselves and the world around them than they could have anticipated.

Imagine a woke version of Superbad. Yeah I said it and that’s ok. Although actress turned director Olivia Wild’s teen comedy might be quite obvious from the off, unlike that forced girl-power moment in Avengers: Endgame this manages to deliver a message more naturally through an engaging, occasionally touching story of friendship, high school and one wild night.

At first this was trying too hard to be hip and self-aware, and the two friends come across a bit obnoxious – yet as I eased into the movie’s style I began to relate to the friend’s outsider image and found myself pulled into their story. It fails to be as funny (or as quotable) as it clearly wants to be (except for an animated sequence that is great) but that can be forgiven as eventually the movie revealed a heart to it I wasn’t expecting and the closing moments worked well. Feldstein can’t escape comparisons as a female Jonah Hill (she’s his sister, after all) yet proves entertaining regardless … but for me the star was Kaitlyn Dever, who first caught my eye in TV mini series Unbelievable and is just as watchable here. Overall quite effective stuff, flipping teen movie conventions on their heads whilst retaining what makes a teen movie work. One to check out.

Verdict: Good

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