Dir. Olivia Wilde
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Amy: We'll probably just do a Korean face-mask.
Her mum: I don't need to know all the words.”
High school comedies don’t often make girls their main characters but Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut, Booksmart, is basically Superbad with girls and all the better for it.
This is the tale of best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) who were those serious scholarly school girls you remember – you know – the ones who didn’t party and got great grades. But at the end of their senior year, when they realise that their hard-partying pals have mostly got into the same good colleges as them – they decide to taste a little of the forbidden debauched fun by throwing caution to the wind and finding the biggest party they can find.
'don't do drugs kids'
So, before Graduation Day dawns these ‘booksmart’ pals find themselves on a ‘Before Midnight’ odyssey where danger, romance and crazy situations lurk around every turn. Boosted by some very smart writing that feels very authentic (as a parent of a teenager), the film packs in a ton of coming-of-age tropes and is an absolute joy to watch!
Director Olivia ‘Tron Legacy’ Wilde goes all out including many unforgettably funny scenes including a genius animated feminist-friendly sequence where the pals are transformed into Barbie dolls and spend some drug-fuelled time admiring and discussing their new sex-organ-less but shapely bodies.
Booksmart is super sharply written and innovative – blessed with a fantastic cast who include a winning turn as uber driving school principal (Jason Sudeikis), plus Will Forte and Lisa Kudrow as Amy’s super-Christian, gay-supportive parents and Gigi (Billie Lourd) – an unhinged Heathers / Mean Girls type.
Sure, sex jokes and crudities abound but they land with self-aware and self-referential contexts and are often subverted such as in Molly Gordon who plays a girl nicknamed ‘Triple A’ because she’s rumoured to have given ‘roadside assistance’ to three guys but has more to her story than the gossip allows.
The acting is top notch, the mostly young cast are great and likely destined for big futures. You can almost smell the adolescence and feel the heartbreak as Wilde delivers so many superb cinematic experiences – all backed up with a killer soundtrack.
'dude - we're dolls!'
Booksmart is a must see movie for anyone who works with young people or even was a young person once!?
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Excellent, hilarious and heartwarming, being young eh?)
Awesomeness öööö - Heavy duty partying FTW
Laughs ööööö – Awesome funny, if you don't laugh you're probably dead!
Horror öö – Drugs n drinking in excess
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Friendship can be everything