Since the above is a red-band trailer, I guess this must be a red-band review. Booksmart might be called Socially-inept, or Party-dumb, or a million other similar names for a raunchy, coming-of-age “comedy.” Despite the critical praise, there is a reason this script floated around since 2009. If this was a competition wherein the dead bodies in a John Wick movie was the average, then the over in this movie is the use of the F-word, and the under is the attempt at vagina jokes.
For a rookie director, Olivia Wilde (you know her as “Thirteen” from the TV show House) does a creditable job. If, in fact, she allowed the actors to re-write dialogue “in their own voice,” she allowed it to go too far. These are 22-26 year old actors, not 17-18 year olds. I give the movie 2.5 Gavels and it receives a 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating with an 80% Audience score.
Amy and Molly chose to avoid all distractions during high school to get into the right college. When they find out that the party animals also got into good schools, they decide to go all-out the night before graduation. A party on a yacht with drugs, an encounter with an UBER driving principal, and a lesbian experience are only part of their “adventure.” Will the others change their opinions of these nerdy girls? Will they change the opinions of themselves?
Beanie Feldstein plays valedictorian and class president, Molly. She and Amy, acted by Kaitlyn Dever (Eve of Last Man Standing), are best friends since childhood. Their rapid-fire, talk-over-each-other with very little filter, means of communication is impressive. Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte have very small parts.
Expected to “gross” 12 million over the weekend, I am not sure if that’s dollars or people. It may be receiving good word-of-mouth because our early Sunday afternoon showing was well attended. Booksmart gives the impression that all students are either super-nerdy, or out-of control. The message that “no one knows me” is well-deserved for these characters. Eventually, Amy and Molly figure out that even best friends have some secrets. And, that a night of “discovery” will not keep them apart. Wilde could give us the same lesson without the R-rating. Save your money; this one is over-hyped!