Sunday, May 15, 2022

Senior Year

Movie Name:
Senior Year
Year of Release: 2022
Director: Alex Hardcastle
Starring: Rebel Wilson, Angourie Rice, Mary Holland, Molly Brown, Sam Richardson, Zaire Adams, Zoe Chao, Ana Yi Puig, Justin Hartley, Tyler Barnhardt, Jade Bender, Chris Parnell, Avantika, Joshua Colley, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Michael Cimino, Brandon Scott Jones, Tiffany Denise Hobbs
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
Watch it on Netflix

Synopsis and Review:
Another week, another film released by Netflix, this time around the feature directorial debut for Alex Hardcastle, who has a very extensive directorial career across a tremendous amount of shows, including "Grace and Frankie", "The Mindy Project", "Suburgatory", and "You're the Worst" (a large percentage of them being comedies). "Senior Year" initially takes place in 2002, focuses its narrative on Stephanie Conway, a senior high schooler originally from Australia. Not being particularly visible or popular, Stephanie focuses her energies on making that happen, at the expense of some of her closer friendships. As she manages to achieve the popularity and attention she craves, she also becomes a cheerleader captain, spicing up some serious rivalries, particularly from Tiffany, the previous leader. Following a sabotaged routine, Stephanie finds herself in a coma, one that lasts for 20 years. Upon waking up, Stephanie decides to go back to high school and finish what was her senior year. While initially against that idea, her best friend Martha, now the high school principal, finally caves in and agrees with the whole thing. Stephanie soon realizes that everyone has moved on, including her former boyfriend, now married to Tiffany, and living in the house she always wanted. Stephanie finds herself lost in this new complex web of relationships and activities in the high school, one where her ambitions of being Prom Queen no longer make much sense.
"Senior Year" is another Rebel Wilson vehicle, much like "Isn't it Romantic", only with meager laughs and entertainment value. The script from Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli and Brandon Scott Jones, tries to illustrate and also build a satire around the social niceties of going to school in this new era, where political correctness exists, where everyone lives on social media (and wants to be an influencer), and where the sense of fun is apparently completely eradicated. Stephanie is the anachronistic presence in this narrative, since for her the world is still 2002, and apparently then everyone was able to be lascivious and inappropriate. Sadly for all the attempts to capture this fish out of water aspect of the narrative, the laughs are null, and Rebel Wilson for all her likeability and charisma, can't do much for the character or for the film. It's a film that had the potential to be funnier (and even edgier), if the writers had chosen to do what Daniel Waters did with "Heathers" for instance, or even Tina Fey when she adapted the book from Rosalind Wiseman, in what became "Mean Girls". Instead it's a bland experience where nothing particularly relevant takes place, where most performances are forgettable, save for Zoe Chao's villainous turn, and where Rebel Wilson's presence is completely wasted. Avoid.