Booksmart: Raunchy Comedy has Heart and Brains

3.6 out of 5 stars (Slightly Above Average)

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Booksmart is one of the most refreshing, funny, and intelligent movies I’ve seen this year.  The directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, the film has been compared to and marketed as a female version of Superbad, a “classic” comedy I did not enjoy.  However, Kaitlyn Dever (TV’s Last Man Standing), and immaculate reviews caught my interest, and I’m happy to say Booksmsart is smart, funny, and cathartic for anyone who wanted a wild night out.

Teens Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are intelligent yet unpopular social outcasts one day away from high school graduation.  After discovering their party-hard classmates also got into great schools, Molly convinces Amy to attend a wild basher held by jock Nick (Mason Gooding).  That quest sends them on a night full of drugs, alcohol, and debauchery that will challenge their friendship like never before.

Booksmart is one of the year’s sharpest comedies.  Feldstein and Dever have amazing chemistry, the writing feels authentic, and the crazy antics plausible (save for one trippy gag in the middle).  Wilde’s direction is surprisingly assured for a debut (though she unwisely mutes one pivotal scene near the end), and the soundtrack (while sometimes overused) keeps the energy up.  Skyler Gisondo (Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet) and newcomer Billie Lourd also charm, though other supporting characters are annoyingly stereotyped, going against the films’ message of not judging others by first impressions.

While a sluggish first act, uneven characterization, and Wilde’s expected first-timer hiccups prevent 5 star status, Booksmart still earns its place among other teen classics like Clueless and Blockers for mixing humor, heart, and honesty while providing a wild ride.   See Booksmart.

Rated R for Sexual Content and Language Throughout, Drug Use and Drinking-All Involving Teens


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