Booksmart

Directed by actress Olivia Wilde in her directorial debut, Booksmart is an excellent and exceedingly funny coming-of-age movie that takes a refreshingly new spin on the rather tired genre by relying on a talented young cast and comedy that is updated for modern culture and social norms. The film follows two best friends Amy, played by Kaitlyn Dever best known for her role on the sitcom Last Man Standing, and Molly, played by Beanie Goldstein best known for her role in 2017’s Lady Bird, on the eve of their high school graduation. Focused on academics for much of their school years in order to get into Ivy League colleges, they quickly realize that their fellow party-going classmates also were able to get into the same good schools. As a result, they decide to have some fun and go to parties that they have missed out on before they graduate and go on to college. At first blush, it feels like your typical vulgar high school comedy and a girl version of 2007’s Superbad. However, it is a very different movie that is full of heart by exploring the two protagonists’ lifelong friendship and presents a non-judgmental view of female sexuality as well as Amy’s homosexuality that is shown as not a big deal when talking about her crush on a fellow female classmate. The night is full of unexpected antics in which they encounter their classmates who are quite the characters but are generally nicer than what they appear to be at school. Most of the actors are relatively unknown, which helps the movie have a more realistic feel, but the film also includes such veteran actors as Jason Sudeikis who plays their principal, Lisa Kudrow who plays Amy’s mother, and Will Forte who plays Amy’s father. Undoubtedly, the terrific acting performances given in the movie by the many young actors will help launch their careers much like Superbad did for Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. Overall, I found it to be a surprisingly smart and kind-hearted teenage comedy that is the perfect showcase for the truly talented cast and first-time director Olivia Wilde. If you are looking for a highly entertaining movie, albeit one that can be inappropriate at times, then this first-rate comedy is right up your alley and should be seen as soon as possible.

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