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'Booksmart' Movie Review with Casey


I have seen the funniest film of 2019 so far. Actress Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, 2010) makes her full-length feature directorial debut with a teen comedy that is a loud, irreverent, zippy whirlwind of friendship, alcohol, condom water balloons, and the elusive goal of having fun.

Two girlfriends (Kaitlyn Dever, Beautiful Boy, 2018 and Beanie Feldstein, Lady Bird, 2017) with perfect academic records, and perfectly huge egos to match, vow to attend a classmate's wild party the night before their high school graduation. But these 2 overzealous nerds have never been to a party before, and they quickly learn it might not be as easy getting to the party (or handling it) as they thought.

Booksmart is fun because it isn't one-note like many other teen genre comedies. Mixing different personalities and different comedic moods, it brilliantly uses all the keys on the piano and is not afraid to be strange, shocking, biting, or unlikable. An interpretive dance, a drug-fueled hallucination, and a punchy soundtrack make Booksmart a memorable, unapologetic, coming-of-age film. It reminded me of the 2007 raunchy comedy Superbad. But instead of 2 teen boys yearning to get laid, Booksmart is about 2 young women learning about each other, the challenges of loyalty, and the value of letting your guard down.

It doesn't shatter all the conventions (and predictable moments) of the teen comedy, but it does give a different and refreshing perspective on it.

Casey T. Allen is a native of Utah who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2007. He has worked in many capacities throughout USU campus and enjoys his time at UPR to continually exercise his writing.