Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Beanie Feldstein – Molly
Kaitlyn Dever – Amy
Skyler Gisondo – Jared
Jessica Williams – Miss Fine
Jason Sudeikis – Jordan Brown
Lisa Kudrow – Charmaine Antsler
Will Forte – Doug Antsler
Billie Lourd – Gigi
Noah Galvin – George
Diana Silvers – Hope
Mason Gooding – Nick
The problem with Booksmart is that it tries too hard to fit into the ‘naughty double act’ comedy genre by pairing two young women and sending them out on the road with as much vile content as possible. And yet the end result is 103 minutes of stale jokes and a lot of everyday antics nowhere near worthy of a full-scale movie being created around them.
Two young women decide to go to a high school party. They hitch a ride with their school principal to the party. They end up taking a detour and attending someone else’s party. They then make it to the party they initially planned to go to earlier in the day.
Wow. Intriguing beyond belief, and packed with mishaps and adventure.
Of course I’m being as sarcastic as humanly possible. Booksmart is an utter shambles from beginning to end. Oh there are some gags in it which make a few witty moments, but otherwise the movie as a whole remains an empty shell that the writers clearly didn’t have the imagination to fill. Ultimately, you’re sat watching two girls make their way to a party.. then arrive at the party and hang around doing things kids of their age usually do. There are a few realisations along the way (one of the girls’ love interests fancies someone else, friendships are tested, etc.) but that is it – that’s your film.
Irrelevant dialogue and story interventions are my pet hate in the movies. And it happens here in Booksmart. One scene I was left feeling baffled by was when Amy and Molly are in one of their bedrooms talking about sex. Suddenly the conversation takes a bizarre turn when Amy mentions she uses one of her stuffed teddy bears to masturbate with. How she discusses this and what happens next is one of the most stupid, vulgar things I’ve seen in cinema in years. This was only the beginning of the movie too; subsequent scenes were just as desperate and a clear sign that the producers were obviously struggling with the material they had.
The part where the two friends are sat in their principal’s car and decide to watch a porn video (first on the list in a scenario like this, obviously) on their mobile phone is ridiculous, and just not funny enough. It is forced immaturity which makes the characters look plain stupid. Wrong joke, wrong time, wrong place. And this absurd behaviour continues as they make their way to Nick’s (Gooding) graduation party.
Booksmart could have been superb; one of those farcical movies where the lead characters end up on a crazy adventure; I.E. take a wrong turn and end up embroiled in some dangerous plan hatched by a weird mafia leader who is then in pursuit of them. Cue a dashing car chase, hilarious confrontation, kidnapping then escape, swinging from skyscrapers, etc. (think Date Night, 2010). Maybe not exactly what I have suggested. But something – anything that would contribute to Booksmart being a half-decent watch. Instead, what do you get? Molly and Amy taking a wrong turn and ending up on the yacht of a wealthy high school classmate, whereby the most critical decision of the night is whether they should stay on the yacht in the hopes of more partygoers turning up, or leave and head to Nick’s (one of them is already convinced after consuming a tasty strawberry from the buffet).
The entire thing is pathetic, leaving the viewer with no real substance to be engaged in.
I get that the plot is restricting; two girls heading to a party to break the pretentious image their peers have of them. But Jesus – it doesn’t have to be restricting. The beauty of a script like this is the characters’ night has the potential to get out of hand quickly and become adventurous or dangerous. Booksmart was neither of these which pissed on my fireworks royally as I was geared up for utter hilarity.
Gigi (Lourd) doesn’t help the tediousness of the production. She is a drug-crazed mess – which is portrayed well by the actress – but irritating as hell at the same time. She is known throughout the movie for popping up wherever Molly and Amy go, but her wacky mannerisms are beyond cringeworthy. I dare you to watch this movie and not feel the urge to smack her in the face.
There have been a number of these types of movies in the past; Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Thelma & Louise, etc. that feature two females and a mad script. And memorable scenes that made it worth watching that little bit more. Sadly, Booksmart isn’t one of these. It is quite literally two young women acting like idiots – because they can – and ending up in a finale that falls so hard on its arse you’ll probably wonder what the point of the entire movie was given the additional lack of build-up to it.
Even the speech delivered by Molly at the very end is fucking terrible; she gets up on stage at graduation and delivers some facts about her classmates – which everyone knew already. And to draw it to a close she says something so mundane that it seals the deal on the fact that this is one of 2019’s most poorly written productions. Definitely the most underwhelming end to a film I have ever seen.
If you’d relish yet another coming-of-age flick which, during particular scenes, is swamped with hoards of completely unknown young actors who clearly got shipped in from a local drama school – this is it. Bits of it might be relatable to some of you out there, but I feel the movie overall plays on this element to worm its way in to viewers’ hearts. There really is nothing else to it.
Never mind Booksmart, if someone gave me a copy of this film on DVD I would probably end up using it as a bookmark.