Friday, May 13, 2022

Senior Year: Movie Review

Too subdued and unoriginal.
Senior Year is Rebel Wilson’s latest comedy offering. She’s 37, has been in a coma for the last 20 years, and now she’s returning to high school to graduate finally be named prom queen (graduation is for the un-cool kids). Cue all the 2002 jokes and how society has become so pretentious. It definitely has its fair share of cell phone jokes, an Ally McBeal joke, and how non-confrontational everything is now, but it’s relatively tame. I was expecting way worse.   2022

Directed by: Alex Hardcastle

Screenplay by: Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli and Brandon Scott

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Sam Richardson

The opening set-up takes longer than it should. Teenage Stephanie (Angourie Rice) is not popular, is in love with Blaine, and will do anything to be cool and be cheer captain. Which she of course succeeds at. After all, it is a cheerleading stunt which lands her in the coma. So we know all this, but it still takes more than 20 minutes to establish that Stephanie’s entire personality is centered around her need to be popular. Adult Stephanie awakens from her coma and returns to being exactly the same. It’s time to be named prom queen.

Senior Year. Rebel Wilson as Stephanie Conway in Senior Year.
Cr. Boris Martin, Netflix © 2022

One central theme/joke that really fits Stephanie’s personality is her discovery of social media and how her phone can just give her a number to tell her how popular she is – and she absolutely loves this! Finally, a way society has changed for the better. Unfortunately, that is how many of the jokes are framed here. “You can’t say gay as an insult anymore, you can only say it to refer to someone who is homosexual”. Stephanie is younger than me, she should not have needed this explained to her. But hey, it's okay since Martha is gay. Dead seriously, the movie just says a main character is gay with absolutely no other reference or significance to the story just so they can get around framing that joke as a downfall of society.

I guess this brings me to the 'wokeness' of the 2022 class of Harding High School. It’s definitely over-exaggerated a lot. However, today’s teens are treated with a lot more respect than the 2002 teens are, and deservedly so.

Once again, Netflix nails the casting of this movie. From Justin Hartley as the high school heart-throb turned unhappily married, sleazy, car salesman, to Chris Parnell as Stephanie’s dad who didn’t change one bit in the last 20 years, to Alicia Silverstone as the former idolized prom queen now a divorced uber driver who recognizes the mistakes her popular self made, and finally to Love, Victor’s Michael Cimino as the so distinctly unique prom king it’s too hard to define him. With that casting, Netflix absolutely deserves to get the full audience from the young Gen X’s to the Gen Z’s.

The message behind the movie is so trite it doesn’t need the full two hours, and yet that’s how long it takes for Stephanie to realize that it’s better to be yourself than to change who you are to be popular. Senior Year makes some really good choices with Justin Hartley’s character and Sam Richardson’s character, but it also isn’t nearly as funny or as fresh as you would want it to be.

Similar Titles:

  I Used to Go Here - Relatable, funny and entertaining.

  Along for the Ride - Light-weight drama and slow-burn romance.

  The Hater - A political movie trying to present a balanced message.

  How It Ends - Random funniness, very superficial.

  Good on Paper - A romantic comedy that smartly drops the romance.