Friday, April 28, 2023

Sid Is Dead: Movie Review

Sid is Dead is a mix between Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Sex Appeal. A title that can grab attention and a lead character that’s nerdy, but not too nerdy, clever but not too clever, a character that can almost pull off the relatability usually missing from this genre before he becomes inexplicably popular and challenges the social fabric of his high school that can only happen in movies.   2023

Directed by: Eli Gonda

Screenplay by: Peter Warren, Drew Frist, Tom Dolby

Starring: Joey Bragg, Tyler Alvarez

Sid Sandagger (Joey Bragg) has found the recipe to surviving high school: keep your head down, don’t stand out, and most importantly, keep your mouth shut. And then he accidentally insults the school’s meanest bully who vows death upon Sid as soon as he returns from his suspension in two-and-a-half weeks. At this point I think I would prefer a feel-good comedy where they teach the bully how to address his anger issues without using violence, but that is most definitely not this movie. This movie exists in a universe where the character actually (like really actually I think) believes that he will be murdered soon, so he throws out all rules and decides to live life to the fullest.

It’s an odd list of accomplishments for a high schooler who’s living life to the fullest: he goes on a rant in sex ed class directed at the abstinence queen about how he and everyone is obsessed with sex. And most characters cheer him on sharing their own sex obsessions instead of embarrassingly hiding in their chairs waiting for the class to end. A movie that started by showing us a realistic, relatable character just to throw that out the window twenty minutes in.

There definitely are funny moments. The lead actor Joey Bragg has good line delivery even if some of the minor actors have more charisma, or most of them: the sex ed teacher (Carla Gallo), one of his lesbian mothers (Mary Stuart Masterson), unpopular nerds (Belissa Escobedo and Audrey Whitby) and popular jock (Jack Griffo); all of whom had a big presence with very little screen time.

Sid continues his inexplicable rise in popularity as he lets a hockey player discover his love of dance and runs for vice president alongside a bullied over-achiever. Meanwhile his best friend a sleazy bootlicker desperate for popularity finds more ways to insult women and degrade Sid. Jim (Tyler Alvarez) is not supposed to be a likable character but this is an actor who has played sleazy and self-absorbed before (notably in Never Have I Ever) and it’s time he gets to play a more interesting person.

Sid is Dead has enough funny moments and a fast enough run-time that it’s an easy watch, but it doesn’t do anything new, and like most teen comedies that came before it, persists in a completely unrealistic high school.