Booksmart (2019)

booksmart poster 2019 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting : 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun and different spin on teen comedy

Still felt like a good but typical teen comedy despite differences

Movie Info

Movie Name: Booksmart

Studio: Annapurna Pictures

Genre(s): Comedy

Release Date(s):  March 10, 2019 (South by Southwest)/May 24, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

booksmart beanie feldstein school


Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) have dedicated their lives to being the top of their class, and with graduation looming, they’ve done it.  Unfortunately, Molly learns that being top of the class and a good college doesn’t mean sacrificing life experiences and she and Amy have the night before graduation to make it all happen.  Setting off to find the party of Nick Howland (Mason Gooding), where Amy hopes to tell Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) how she feels about her, the two have four years of partying to cram into one night!

Directed by Olivia Wilde, Booksmart is a teen comedy.  The film premiered at South by Southwest and was released to critical acclaim for both the storytelling and the performances of the lead actors.

The trailers for Booksmart were funny, but it felt like I had seen the movie before when it was called Super Bad (especially since it starred Beanie Feldstein’s brother Jonah Hill).  That doesn’t mean the movie couldn’t be funny, but it was kind of like going into Bridesmaids after seeing The Hangover…two separate movies but with really similar feels and characters.  I enjoyed Booksmart, but more for the performances than the story.

booksmart drug sequence barbie

Party Time!

The story (as I suspected) was a lot similar to Super Bad with the geeky kids heading out to party before going off to college.  Because the characters are females, the situations change, but the general idea of uncomfortable people trying to act outside of their comfort zone was there (that is coming from an uncomfortable person who can’t stand parties).  It does validate the idea that times change but in a bigger picture the experiences people go through growing up don’t.  They’ll have crushes, letdowns, and have to say goodbye to friends they’ve known their whole life…Booksmart does it well, but it has been done before.

The cast is good however.  Not only is do you have two smart, strong actors in the lead but they also aren’t overpowering each other.  Beanie Feldstein gets a lot of the attention because she’s the more cartoonish of the two women, but Kaityn Dever holds her own as the level headed one who is trying to say goodbye to her friend.  They have a great supporting cast.  I actually think the more famous adults are a bit of a distraction…kind of like in Super Bad, but the “teen” actors are diverse and feel unique to this film which was good.

booksmart graduation amy molly kaitlyn dever beanie feldstein

We did it…now what?

The movie kind of looks like a rather typical comedy which isn’t a bad thing.  The timing is down and that is the most important thing about comedy.  The construction of the laughs are solid and fun.  There were a number of laugh-out-loud moments along with chuckles throughout which says a lot about a comedy.

Booksmart is a solid movie, and I commend the makers.  I do wish it had gone its own way a little more in terms of a teen comedy, but it is a step in the right direction.  The movie didn’t fare well at the box office which is a shame since it is as solid as most comedies out there…I don’t know that it was because people thought it was “a chick flick” (it’s not) or if it simply was released at the wrong time of year which can have blame in the studios more so than the makers or viewers.  I would like to check in on Molly and Amy in ten years and see where they end up…if their dreams have changed or if they came true.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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