Stream It or Skip It?

Insurgent Wilson headlines Netflix’s Senior 12 months, an oh-no-I-woke-up-from-a-20-year-coma-and-need-to-go-back-to-high-school comedy that’ll make you yearn for the times of low-rise denims and Nelly’s band-aid. The Australian humorous woman who broke by way of by stealing scenes in Bridesmaids performs a dweeb-turned-cheerleader-turned-coma-patient-turned-clueless-maniac who experiences cultural whiplash when she learns that yesterday’s sexualized cheer captains are at present’s socially acutely aware influencers. Sound humorous, or simply dicey? Let’s discover out.


The Gist: Again in 1999, when cell telephones had, like, precise antennas on them, Stephanie Conway (Angourie Rice) was the social outcast: Moved to the U.S. from Australia, a bit dorky, no discernible character traits, noticed the cool youngsters and wished to be identical to them. By 2002, she set objectives and imposed her will on her little world: Numerous make-up, captain of the cheer squad, landed the new boyfriend, nonetheless not a lot in the way in which of discernible character traits (don’t blame Steph, blame the screenplay). She handled her true buddies, e-book dweeb Seth (Zaire Adams) and meek Martha (Molly Brown), like crap, so she may make faux buddies with the in crowd. She was in a detailed race for promenade queen together with her rival Tiffany (Zoe Chao), who fires the next insult at her like one among Legolas’ arrows: “I’m MTV and also you’re VH1.” After which there’s a cheerleading accident that places Steph in a coma for 20 years.

When she involves in 2022, she’s performed by Insurgent Wilson, Sam Richardson is Seth, Mary Holland is Martha and Zoe Chao continues to be Tiffany (how’d that occur?). Extra importantly, the physician drops the most important bomb, that Steph might have a 37-year-old physique now, however mentally, she’s nonetheless 17, and that’s once we moan that that is one other 13 Happening 30 ripoff, however it’s not – it’s simply a possibility to go off Ally McBeal and Britney Spears references as jokes. Hey, keep in mind TRL? The Actual World: New Orleans? How folks used to make use of “homosexual” as an insult? Effectively, this film will remind you!

Grownup-body/teenage-mind Steph may get her GED and go to counseling, however that’s not wacky sufficient for this film. No, she needs to choose up proper the place she left off and full her senior 12 months in the identical highschool, as a result of somebody thought it’d be humorous if Insurgent Wilson performed a strolling time capsule who calls a thumb drive a “pc tampon” and pretends to make use of a graphing calculator as a smartphone. Reintegration into college life is a sophisticated endeavor, contemplating Martha is the principal now, Seth is the varsity librarian and Tiffany’s daughter is now the most well-liked child at school. However golly, have issues modified – the cheerleaders are dweebs in saggy pants cheering about sexual consent and the environmental affect of plastic straws, the favored child has a zillion Instagram followers, and there’s no competitors for promenade queen so everybody’s a winner and no person’s a loser. Steph’s gonna do one thing about all of this, whereas additionally catching up on the necessary stuff: “I simply discovered there have been eight extra Quick and Livid motion pictures!” Discuss tradition shock.

Photograph: Boris Martin/NETFLIX

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Senior 12 months takes bits of Imply Women, Billy Madison, Again to College, Clueless, 21 Bounce Avenue (the film) and a couple of half-dozen different conceptually comparable movies and/or turn-of-the-millennium-era highschool comedies, and turns it into bland mush.

Efficiency Value Watching: The fabric fails just about everybody right here, but when I’m pressured to decide on, I’ll go together with Justin Hartley because the grownup model of Steph’s former boyfriend, now married to Tiffany. The character’s a Hummer salesman (gosh, the jokes simply write themselves, don’t they) caught in what seems to be a depressing marriage, and Hartley, regardless of restricted display time, ekes out amusing or two by taking part in the previous hunky bro who’s making an attempt to keep up that standing whereas he’s absolutely secretly beneath Tiffany’s boot.

Memorable Dialogue: I’ll spoil the one halfway-decent one-liner right here: “Although I used to be mind lifeless, you have been the one which stored my coronary heart beating.”

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Nothing past crude discuss and lascivious cheerleader dance routines.

Our Take: Senior 12 months needs us to recollect all the teenager motion pictures we loved 20 years in the past, which frankly isn’t a sound technique, particularly if you failed to jot down any respectable jokes. There are exactly zero causes to look at this as a substitute of any of the movies it pays homage to: Wilson flails and mugs in an try to promote this rickety, laughless premise, and by no means emotionally grounds the character (she’s manner funnier as a personality actress in stuff like Pitch Good and JoJo Rabbit). The conditions and supporting characters are thrice-microwaved rehash. At almost two hours, it’s overlong, padded with a surplus of “humorous” musical-dance sequences, together with a limp homage to Britney Spears’ “Loopy.” It’s an actual watch-looker-atter of a film: Is it over but?

And but, its most egregious misstep is its failure to be greater than only a stream of references. Setting apart any questions of the situation’s scientific accuracy, what’s it wish to have a near-middle-aged physique however a teenage mind? The movie additionally likes to play the That Was Then, This Is Now sport, however renders limp any satire of the comparatively less-P.C. early ’00s compared to the present social media age. There isn’t any eager remark or humorous crucial commentary right here, simply the dumbest, best, most blatant jokes. Keep in mind, you can be watching Straightforward A as a substitute of this, which is extra like Straightforward D-.

Our Name: Senior 12 months needs to be MTV in 2002, however it’s MTV in 2022. SKIP IT, and skip it laborious.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic primarily based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.

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