Two friends try and make up for their overly studious ways the night before their high school graduation.
Directed by Olivia Wilde
Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever
Review by Pierce Bauer
Dever and Feldstein lead as the classic best friend duo set to part post-graduation. For a premise that's been done before with the apt Superbad comparison, Amy and Molly very much fit the mold of Seth and Evan's codependent friendship. The Superbad comparison is so 1:1 it's almost distracting. Although, even within the familiar dynamic, their characters are entirely new and refreshing avatars to experience the modern high school experience. Both Molly and Amy are high-achieving, smart young girls who chose to work towards their successes rather than partake in their contemporaries' debauchery, offering a needed departure from the Apatow-esque stoner slobs in the making. They offer something new to root for rather than becoming "the Iron Chef of pounding vag." Amy and Molly's newfound need to escape their pre-chosen identities says more about the expectations placed on them as teenage girls and their choice to break from that spurns their youthful revelry. Both actresses offer great comedic performances that help reassure the lustrous career hinted at from both of their previous, but limited work. The pitch-perfect depictions of these two sincere characters only further the comedy and amplify the film's portrayal of young female friendship, making it both hysterical and effective.
Being a lasting high school teen comedy is an illustrious group to crack. Every generation has their cult favorites with many imitators falling by the wayside. The film provides a new interpretation of teenage female friendship and high school dynamics reminiscent of lasting favorites like Mean Girls and Clueless with the inclusion of hilarious degradation, a needed trope within the genre. We have to be able to look back at our teenage selves and laugh, even if it felt world crushing at the time. To build upon past iterations, yet still speak to the coming generation of pimple-faced hallway dwellers is a difficult task, and Wilde hits the mark entirely. Comedy has been in desperate need of a laugh out loud movie experience, and the terrific writing along with Feldstein and Dever's outright audacity make Booksmart a hopeful generational favorite, kicking down the door of the high school comedy ranks. A