Senior Year review – Rebel Wilson fails Netflix high school comedy

tThe ghost of scintillating high school comedies, from Never Been Kissed to Mean Girls to Easy A, haunts Netflix’s “if you like…” junky offering Senior Year, with an ever-deafening memory of what preceded it. Because where those movies had charm, humor and vim, this instead has a stultifying absence, a disappointing and distracting two-hour streak of memory.

In any case, it looks like the movies it desperately wants to be grouped with, a quick tip on the origin, made by Paramount before transferring to Netflix. British director Alex Hardcastle, best known for sitcom work, does an impressive job of fooling us into thinking we’re in safe hands with a slick and poppy aesthetic before the script, from Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli and actor Brandon Scott Jones, reminding us we certainly aren’t, the loosely familiar framework of a solid studio comedy that crumbles with every ill-advised decision made. Worst of all, the choice to star Rebel Wilson, an often adept comic book artist who works best as a comedic support (funny in both Bridesmaids and 2015’s underrated How to Be Single), but who often struggles in the more substantive spotlights (patchy). in the romcom spoof of 2019 Isn’t it romantic?

She’s been given a very specific acting challenge here that demands more than she can really give, playing a woman who wakes up from a 20-year-old coma after a cheerleading accident at school. She may look 37, but she has the mind of a 17-year-old (there’s a gnarly psychodrama that could have grown from this premise) and so every move of hers must reflect this perplexing disagreement.

Before her lie great examples of actors who have effortlessly pulled off something similar, from Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 or Tom Hanks in Big or more recently a surprisingly textured Vince Vaughn in freaky, but a misguided Wilson never convinces as one who’s figuring out the intricacies of a new body and new life, a simple, superficial execution unaided by a script that also doesn’t completely grapple with the actual day-to-day details or real comedy of such a surreal experience. Instead, it’s mere editing fodder – confusing Lady Gaga for Madonna, learning how to use Instagram, insisting on a Real World: New Orleans prom theme – and so late-stage sticky sentiment, of which there is very muchis clearly ineffective.

There have been proven comedic milestones in comparing the nature of high school life then and now, something 21 Jump Street handled well, forcing the leads to share their ideas about popularity and how do you carry a backpack?† But here it’s all way too broad with the film’s exaggerated vision of kombucha-drinking mini activists embracing their gender fluidity as they try to fight climate change, feeling lazy and a little too mean, as if they were all written with a exhausted eye roll. The adult characters don’t fare too well either, though there are enthusiastic twists and turns from Sam Richardson as the old friend with a crush, Happiest Season escape Mary Holland as the BFF turned director, Justin Hartley as the old jock boyfriend, and Zoe Chao trying to laugh like the bitter ex-queen bee at a frustratingly non-spiky dialogue. But despite the bloated runtime, the script still doesn’t find enough time to flesh out any of these dynamics, with each missing a handful of vital beats.

Tonally it’s everywhere, that aforementioned juice curdled along with Wilson’s trademark roughness, an R-rated comedy that aims to be both sweet and salty, a balance it never manages to perfect. So dick sized jokes and tired putdowns like an ass slut bump into asinine Live Laugh Love life lessons like “why fit when you can stand out?” and “the perfect life online means nothing if you’re miserable in real life,” the movie that resembles a kid with two shoes who just learned a dirty word.

The film’s aggressive profusion of nostalgia, aimed entirely at an audience in their thirties, can best be summed up by: a sequence where Wilson’s character lovingly reenacts the video of Britney’s 1999 hit song (You Drive Me) Crazy. No attempt has been made to add any real humor or any kind of inventive twist to the performance, it’s just… that’s it. That scene, and the use of pop culture in the movie in general, is reminiscent of Charles Bramesco’s Sharp Review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, where he noted “a peculiar kind of fan more interested in identifying objects than what is done with them”. For those who enjoy the performative act of pointing and nodding to show they know what that song or TV show reference is, there’s plenty here to annoy whoever is trying to impress you, others who demand a little more, may feel short-changed. It’s also indicative of a certain kind of tiresome comedy where we’re expected to have fun simply because those on screen seem to be, but it’s just not enough and the end, with two frenzied musical dance numbers, nor the infectious effect that the makers seem to think.

Senior Year might get a pass for pure energy, but it’s a fail for everything else.


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