Zoey 102 Review – A funny, quirky, and weird rom-com

By Marc Miller
Published: July 24, 2023 (Last updated: July 29, 2023)
Zoey 102 Review - A funny, quirky, and weird rom-com


To my utter shock, Zoey 102 generates enough laughs and quirky storytelling to get past the nostalgia factor into something for everyone.

This review of the new Paramount+ film Zoey 102 does not contain spoilers.

Zoey 102 is a sequel to the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101. The movie features many original cast members, including Jamie Lynn Spears, who plays the titular character Zoey. The Paramount+ film also stars Christopher Massey, Sean Flynn, Matthew Underwood, Abby Wilde, and Erin Sanders, reprising their roles.

Admittedly, I’ve never watched the children’s serialized sitcom that called it quits over fifteen years ago. Naturally, I had my reservations. However, I was surprised at the overall comedy generated by the script, the chemistry between the group of performers, and the quirky characters and storytelling.

Years after Zoey leaves Chase in Hawaii, he ignores her attempts over the years to make amends. She’s now the only female producer on a reality dating series called Love Fully Charged. Zoey has isolated herself from her friends and poured herself into her work. However, that’s all about to change because her best friend Quinn is engaged to Logan.

Zoey 102 review and plot summary

Zoey, the maid of honor, and Chase, the groom, will be forced to see each other. However, after hearing Chase has a steady girlfriend he’s bringing to the wedding, Zoey auditions for reality contestants to be her date and pretends to be an Australian surgeon and Hemsworth cousin named Hugo. She finds Todd (Dean Geyer), who only agrees if Zoey can get him the show next season.

The only problem is that her boss Kelly (Thomas Lennon), needs Zoey to handhold a high-maintenance contestant, Jordan B, who cannot remember the simplest of lines or make rational decisions without changing his hair color to orange. This falls on the day of the live finale to air on Quinn and Logan’s wedding day, causing Zoey to juggle her professional and personal responsibilities.

Directed by Nancy Hower, a filmmaker with experience directing amusing television shows such as 10 Items or Less, Tacoma FD, and the CBS freshman hit, So Help Me, Todd. Working with a script from Nickelodeon scribes Monica Sherer and Madeline Whitby, Hower melds nostalgia and adapts the Zoey 101 world into some fresh modern comedic takes.

For one, the concept of auditioning for reality show contestants to be beards at a wedding is creative and humorous, just based on how reality television dominates network television. I found Spears’ deadpan comic delivery funny (“You really took some liberties there”). Even the hilarious scene between Geyer and Flynn that ends with a dirty dancing tribute works famously.

Is Zoey 102 good or bad?

What separates Zoey 102 from other comedies is that it’s unafraid to be very weird. On top of being oddball, Hower allows fans of the series some conventional tropes for closure in Zoey 101. Then throw in the laughs created by Audrey Whitby’s quirky and delightful Lyric and Wilde’s murder podcaster Stacey.

This movie is a hoot, not to mention the Malibu Murderer storyline Wilde’s character infuses into the story.

Is Zoey 102 worth watching?

Zoey 102 is a nostalgic and amusing watch, enjoyable for original fans and the series newcomers. While it’s not perfect — the movie has some exposition-heavy moments in the first act, and the Zoey-Chase storyline is predictable — its value brought to the streaming waves is catering to the fans it was made for and whether it brings anything fresh to the table.

Zoey 102 accomplishes both.

What did you think of Zoey 102? Comment below.

You can watch this film with a subscription to Paramount+.

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