Senior Year movie review and summary 2022

Watch Senior Year movie

Senior Year movie review 2022

Senior Year” combines two high-concept movie ideas—the movie about going back to high school and the movie about waking up from a coma—into a comedy that is sometimes funny but mostly predictable.

It’s a good place for Rebel Wilson to show off her raunchy charms, and she continues to prove that she’s more than just a reliable irreverent sidekick. Angourie Rice was a great choice to play Wilson as a teenager. She actually gets to be Australian, which is rare, and she does a great job of mimicking Wilson’s sly, deadpan delivery.

Watch Senior Year movie

Watch Senior Year movie

Both actresses are willing to do whatever crazy things the movie asks of them, which is why “Senior Year” feels like a waste of both of their talents. Alex Hardcastle’s first movie as a director is like a list of references to the early 2000s that are brought to life with a lot of energy. Too often, the movie feels like two hours of Leonardo DiCaprio from “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” pointing at the TV. Mentions of CK1 perfume, Smirnoff Ice, Von Dutch jeans, and needle drops by Nelly and Avril Lavigne do take you back to a certain time in pop culture. (Although “Senior Year” gets one of its best laughs from how it uses the Mandy Moore hit “Candy.”) But there isn’t much new to say about this particular time of change after the year 2000 or about the dangerous allure of high school popularity.

Since she was a shy 14-year-old girl moving from Australia to the United States, Stephanie has been obsessed with this goal. With the advice she gets from teen magazines—”Three Pounds Is the Difference Between Hot and Obese” screams one headline—she gives herself a makeover, becomes captain of the cheerleading squad, dates the dumb football player, and sets her sights on the ultimate goal: becoming prom queen.

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Stephanie says as she follows a pretty young married couple who were prom king and queen in high school, “If they were this great in high school, just think how great the rest of their lives would be!” This is a real piece of truth in the script by Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli, and Brandon Scott Jones: people who are very popular tend to reach their peak in high school and then stay in the same town so they can continue to feel like big fish in a small pond.

But Stephanie’s hopes are crushed when a dangerous aerial stunt at a pep rally goes horribly wrong. Was it Tiffany, her rival and fellow cheerleader? No matter why, Stephanie ends up in the hospital for 20 years in a coma. When she wakes up, it’s 2022, and iPhones and flat-screen TVs make no sense to her. Her sweet, widowed father, Chris Parnell, has kept her childhood bedroom the same, with posters of “Clueless” and “P!nk.” Even though she is 37 years old now, her first thought is to go back to high school and become prom queen like she was meant to.

Wilson, who has recently lost weight and gotten in shape, puts on a cheerleader outfit and a green, puffy ponytail bow and joins in on all the fish-out-of-water antics. She doesn’t show how shocked she is by the difference in cultures by making a big deal out of it. Instead, she does it in her usual quiet way. But because that is such a smart and entertaining way to talk, it makes you wish she had something funnier to say than how many “Fast and Furious” movies have come out in the last 20 years.

Still, Wilson has great chemistry with Mary Holland (“Happiest Season”) and Sam Richardson (“Veep”), who play Stephanie’s two oddball friends who have been there for her all along. (Holland, in particular, is great at timing jokes.) Justin Hartley shows up as the handsome grown-up version of her high school boyfriend, who is now married to mean girl Tiffany (Zo Chao). The supporting cast is good, which makes it frustrating that they don’t get to do much more than show a few traits.

And if “Senior Year” is trying to say anything about how different things are for young people now, it doesn’t do so with much force or clarity. Stephanie is devastated to find out that her old high school has gotten rid of popular kids and cliquey cafeteria tables, suggestive cheer routines, and—worst of all—the prom king and queen so that no one feels left out. Everyone gets a trophy now, and if you post on social media about how much you care about the environment, people will love you. Is “Senior Year” making fun of this change in culture as a bad thing, as fake “wokeness,” to use a simple term? Or promoting it as the only way to move past an old way of thinking?

Doesn’t really matter. As long as the script makes the usual cross-promotional references to shows like “Bridgerton” and “Tiger King,” it will fit in just fine with the cool kids at Netflix.

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