Senior Year

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Angourie Rice, Chris Parnell, Mary Holland, Sam Richardson, Justin Hartley, Zoe Chau, Jade Bender, Michael Cimino, and Alicia Silverstone.

Alex Hardcastle

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Available?: Yes

Description Provided By: International Digital Center

Narration Written By: Ron Rickford

Narrated By: Toni Gannon

An unpopular girl transforms herself into the most popular girl in school with the hottest boyfriend, captain of the cheerleading squad, and dreams of becoming prom queen. Unless her nemesis Tiffany stands in her way. Or, unless while doing a cheerleading stunt, she collapses and enters a 20 year coma, wakes up as Rebel Wilson, and decides to go back and finish her Senior Year and get that Prom Queen title.

What Works: I’m predisposed to like teen comedies, and Rebel Wilson, so this should have been a winner. Should have been. Positive takeaways? I did laugh a few times. But like light chuckles, not big laughs. So that’s something. And Chris PArnell will literally do anything for money.

What Doesn’t Work: The film rushes through everything in such a fashion that it’s like a teen comedy that has never seen a teen comedy before, but read about them, and then tried to do that. There are no life lessons learned, nothing earned, nothing gained. Steph ends up making her biggest transitions as a result of something someone else did.

(Spoilers)

Tiffany hates Steph so much that it works in her character’s favor. Steph wants her old boyfriend back, but unfortunately he ended up married to Tiffany, and they produced a hashtag instafamous teenager, but he legit considers leaving his wife for Steph. At first, you assume he just wants to hook up, but there’s a line of dialogue later where he reveals just how much he hates his marriage. Their daughter hates Tiffany too, and it’s that hatred that powers her to give up her bid for Prom Queen, that Tiffany rigged in her favor, and instead give it to Steph. Another thing Steph always wanted to do was throw this post Prom party, which previously was the warred by Tiffany when they were young, and now Tiffany spends a ton of money on a prom party to beat Steph again, but cancels that party when her daughter gives up Prom Queen. So instead of taking her loss, she calls the cops on Steph, for underage drinking, something that would have been happening at her own house… because she’s a poorly written catalyst for evil.

Meanwhile, Steph walks through the movie with everything just happening for her. She rejoins the cheer squad with little effort. She makes friends with little effort. She learns how to use a cell phone and Instagram with little effort. No roadblocks. She just does everything.When Josie went back to school in Never Been kissed, it was an uphill battle. When Zac Efron was 17 Again, he had to adapt to a new way of doing things. Steph doesn’t have to do any of that. Her biggest challenge is learning how now to call things “retarded” or “gay” like everyone was doing when she was in high school.

And, because I’m a nerd, lets talk for a minute about the class of 2002. During Steph’s cheer routine, which is a mashup of songs popular at that time, A Moment Like This is included. Which would be great, if she was Class of 2003. But, she’s not. American Idol premiered during the summer of 2002, and Kelly would have won at the end of that summer, launching that song well after Steph’s graduation. Also, she makes a Freaky Friday reference. And while it’s totally possible that she’s a huge fan of the Hayley Mills version from the 60’s, it’s more likely that they were hoping to pull in the Jamie Lee Curtis remake, which came out in the summer of 2003.

The Blind Perspective:While saying that you’re missing something with this film is a stretch by any imagination, you are. Rebel wilson is a physical comedienne, using her body size as a punchline quite frequently. She did breakthrough as Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect, and she makes her weight a joke here too, by asking her dad who was in charge of her feeding tube. Therefore, her fish out of water physical comedy is a little bit lost, because the narrators can’t quite explain the joke to you, but I have a feeling when the adult version of her does the cheerleading routine, that visually it’s supposed to be funny. Having seen Rebel, and knowing what she’s shooting for, I’m just guessing that was the intended joke. It doesn’t come through the audio description. A little like Chris Farley, Charlie Chaplin, or any other comedic master who understood how to make you laugh without a punchline.

Final Thoughts: I adore teen films, and the ones I grew up with, I still love watching today. I was class of 2001, so this should have hit me right in the nostalgia buttons, but it did not. It’s rare for a film in this genre to fall flat, but there really isn’t anything to see here. You might laugh a few times, but it’s rather a pointless film unfortunately.

Final Grade: C-

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