Friday, September 16, 2022

Do Revenge: Movie Review

A glossy and shiny version of a dark comedy.
One of the first interesting things about Netflix’s Do Revenge is that there are no heroines or antagonists; they are all a bunch of rich, spoiled pretty people who will screw each other over if it will improve their status or give them a leg up to get into an Ivy League school. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster with so many unlikable characters but Drea (Camilla Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) both walk that line between hero and villain very well.   2022

Directed by: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Screenplay by: Celeste Ballard, and
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Starring: Camilla Mendes, Maya Hawke

Drea’s the mean girl that’s really easy to hate: the popular girl at school who has friends who follow her around and do all her bidding to make fun of all the “lesser thans”. But let’s forward just a bit: she’s the main character. Because you see her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams) convinced her to make a sex tape for him and then sent it to the whole school. She gets mad, punches him and guess which one was punished? Ding, ding! It wasn’t the pretty white boy.

Enter Eleanor (Maya Hawke), the type of girl that Drea hates. Eleanor is an awkward lesbian who shuns all the popular kids and is now forced to attend the same school as Drea and a thousand other kids exactly like her. It’s the school where her pre-teen ex crush Carissa (Ava Capri) goes; Carissa spread rumors about Eleanor and now she’s ready for revenge.

There are a number of snappy one-liners, including one taking on the title’s lack of proper grammar. It’s a very shiny, glossy, preppy movie – witty trust fund kids who are literally on Teen Vogue covers, sets that look like they should come out of Baz Luhrman’s Great Gatsby than anything resembling real life, fashion that fits the characters, and a soundtrack that never stops.

This is also the type of movie the breaks most of the rules. Early on Drea and Eleanor hatch their duo plan for revenge – the movie literally created a road map for where it’s going, and for the most part follows it exactly, but it’s an entertaining plan. There is a twist just passed the hour mark where things go off-road a bit, and oddly the film falters exactly when it should be picking up speed.

Austin Abrams is particularly enjoyable as the prototypical insufferable douchebag Max, a guy who has it all because he carved out his life to have it all. And then there's Sarah Michelle Gellar playing a character who fits right in at home as the headmaster of a school full of these types of characters. Her casting is meant to bring back memories of Cruel Intentions, a title which would also fit this one like a glove. There are also some Mean Girls qualities that fit well.

Do Revenge goes for the happy ending. I think a lot of us would like to see this entire place and all the characters in it burn to the ground, but apparently the protagonists aren’t as evil as the others? A true dark comedy ending would be more memorable, but this is a little too glossy and shiny for that.

Similar Titles:

  Bundles (2022) - Revenge with style, hair style.

  Dangerous Liaisons (2022) - A stylish but messy mash-up.