‘Senior Year’ movie review: Rebel Wilson struggles to save Netflix high school comfort flick

Regardless of assembling all the appropriate elements, any try at a saccharine piece of media is thwarted by a plot that’s extra confused than its protagonist

Regardless of assembling all the appropriate elements, any try at a saccharine piece of media is thwarted by a plot that’s extra confused than its protagonist

Netflix’s newest movie Senior Yr makes an attempt to pay homage to the genre-defining highschool rom-coms of the 2000s. Sadly, this tribute does little justice to its predecessors and very similar to its protagonist Stephanie Conway, the movie will get misplaced in its wrestle to juggle the current and the previous. 

A fish out of water, Stephanie Conway (Angourie Rice) is a heroine we might have cherished to really feel sorry for. After shifting to America from Australia, a teenage Stephanie, with the assistance of trusty journal articles and a pin-board to visualise her objectives, rapidly ascends to the highest of the highschool social order. This all comes crashing down when a very dangerous accident, throughout her cheerleading routine, leaves her comatose… proper earlier than promenade.

Skipping ahead 20 years, a 37-year-old Stephanie (now performed by Insurgent Wilson) miraculously wakes up from the coma to seek out that whereas she has aged bodily, “mentally she’s nonetheless 17”. She then begins off on her mission to return to highschool, graduate and win the title of promenade queen.

Nevertheless, the clock has been reset, and as a middle-aged lady, Stephanie is not Queen B. A second makeover ensues as she now navigates the brand new age of social media-fuelled reputation. All through this course of, she is supported by her father (Chris Parnell), and her childhood mates, Martha (Mary Holland) and Seth (Sam Richardson), who now work on the faculty.

With vibrant visible aesthetics, and a soundtrack that includes Avril Lavigne, Mandy Moore and Fort Minor, Senior Yr begins off as a curious time capsule that now we have stumbled upon 20 years later. For a second, it even encourages suspension of disbelief.

Nevertheless, the cracks begin to seem when the movie’s plotline falls prey to the anticipated chiding of the “woke” Gen Z. 

Movies like 13 Happening 30 which have adopted the same premise discovered the comedy in particulars, with Jennifer Garner stumbling round in her residence. In distinction, Senior Yr, rushes previous many such moments that might have lent it the lightness that it wanted to remain afloat. Stephanie is proven to be confused by the idea of selfies and social media, however is barely given a proof earlier than she herself turns into an influencer.

Senior Yr

Director: Alex Hardcastle

Solid: Insurgent Wilson, Justin Hartley, Sam Richardson, Mary Holland, Chris Parnell, Zoë Chao, and others

Period: 1 hour 51 minutes

Storyline: After a cheerleading accident, a highschool pupil falls right into a coma and wakes up 20 years later, decided to graduate and change into the promenade queen

As an alternative, director Alex Hardcastle makes the societal adjustments some extent of competition for Stephanie. The current-day college students at Harding Excessive College seem as caricatures written by a bitter grownup. They communicate in verbose dialogues about social points, practise cheer routines about local weather change, and fear about being filmed as a result of the “media will use it to attempt to discredit” them after they run for President later. 

The trendy technology is proven to be superficial of their concern for causes and obsessive about how they’re perceived digitally. They’re additionally routinely shocked by Stephanie’s brashness, whose complete storyline morphs into ‘the grownup who’s displaying these youngsters to only have some enjoyable’. 

Quickly, Senior Yr veers removed from a visit down reminiscence lane and turns into a projection of millennial frustration at a fast-changing world. It comes off much less like reminiscing fondly over less complicated instances, and turns into an aggressive competitors over which technology had it proper. Stephanie’s irritation at her cartoonishly-woke classmates turns into much less endearing because the movie progresses. 

Predictably, the movie offers in to a neat and good ending. All conflicts are resolved after Stephanie does an Instagram reside to provide a heartfelt speech and hugs it out with Martha on the commencement ceremony, earlier than the entire faculty breaks out right into a ultimate dance routine.

Spoiler alert: One of many movie’s finest moments is shock cameo by Alicia Silverstone who performs Deanna Russo — a former pupil of Harding Excessive — who was topped promenade queen and lived a “excellent life” in keeping with Stephanie. 

On the floor, Senior Yr appears to have all the trimmings of a nostalgic consolation flick, with dialogues that seem to have been plucked instantly from a motivational Instagram web page, and explicitly spelled-out classes on fame being fleeting, one needing to let go of their previous to find their actual self… you get the gist. Nevertheless, any try at a saccharine piece of media is thwarted by a plot that’s extra confused than its protagonist.

Senior Yr is at present streaming on Netflix

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