This film just can’t overcome the poor writing that could have used a little less “wokeness” and a little more heart.
This review of the Netflix film Senior Year (2022) does not contain spoilers. The film will be released on May 13, 2022.
A common trope done in comedy is “child/teenager in an older body.” Movies like Big, Freaky Friday (2003), and 13 Going on 30 all gave the older actor — in these cases, it was Tom Hanks, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Julia Roberts respectively — the chance to relive their childhood in their film.
Senior Year tells the story of Stephanie (Rebel Wilson), a cheer captain and soon-to-be prom queen, who, after an accident during one of her cheer routines, finds herself in a coma. When she escapes her coma she is 20 years older. At 37 years old, she still has the mind of a 17-year-old and decides that she wants to go back to High School to graduate and get the prom queen tiara en route to her perfect life.
Rebel Wilson has been thriving as a character actor ever since her performance as Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect trilogy. Over the past few years, she has continued that with films like Cats, The Hustle, and the Oscar-nominated Jojo Rabbit. In Senior Year she is sporting a new look and is hoping to find a new career as an actor in the spotlight.
If Senior Year does anything right, it’s reminding us of what made Rebel Wilson so funny in the past. Still possessing the mind of a 17-year-old, Rebel Wilson gets the chance to act outlandish and when the film lets her be herself, it is genuinely funny.
However, aside from Wilson, this movie doesn’t have many legs to stand on. There are some nostalgia bits that add some flair to the film, but when Stephanie is undergoing culture shock from what happened between 2002 and 2022, it is easy to tell that just as she is out of touch with today, so are the writers. This film doesn’t talk or act like how people today do.
Instead, it leans heavily into this idea of how young people are today, and given the film’s R rating, maybe that is because this is something that is geared more towards adults in general. People who don’t fully understand the younger generations, and perceive them as a trend or a viral video.
There is no real heart in this film which is another issue. Rebel Wilson tried to give it her all in both the comedic and more dramatic moments, but there never was anything tangible to latch on to. This hurts Senior Year because it takes what could have been an outlandish and fun concept and makes it into something that only a small group of people will really take the time to appreciate.
Either way, the nostalgia in the movie is fun. Pulling in the early 2000s was a real treat to see, and Rebel Wilson really is funny whenever given the chance to be. However, this film just can’t overcome the poor writing that could have used a little less “wokeness” and a little more heart.
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