Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review: Booksmart

Release date: May 24, 2019
Running time: 102 minutes
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams

Booksmart is a new comedy from director Olivia Wilde.  It tells the story of two high school try hards who--after spending all of high school studying and playing by the book--realize that they have one night left to have fun before both graduation and their lives diverge.  If this sounds like a familiar story, it is but don't let that fool you.  Booksmart is an original, brilliant coming of age comedy that takes this tried and true trope and puts a modern spin on it.

The first things you will notice about Booksmart are the two leads.  Dever and Feldstein have natural chemistry and their comedic styles and personalities play off each other perfectly.  This is helped by some seriously sharp and funny writing.  The comedy is based in both their friendship and a lot of the standard growing up / high school / pressure to succeed themes.  The main friends are relate-able, especially for those of us that had a similarly boring high school experience (without the epic, fun night of debauchery before graduation).  And the other high school stereotypes are perfectly exaggerated versions of your typical high school cliques: drama nerds, jocks, popular kids, and rich kids to name a few.  Their interactions are laugh out loud funny and a perfect hyperbolized encapsulation of the high school experience.  

Accompanying the fantastic writing and characters is some wonderful music.  Although it doesn't overtly catch your attention, it is a perfect accompaniment to the overall caper.  It is exactly the type of soundtrack you would want: one that hits all the right notes but doesn't overpower the comedy and relationships.  The story, despite feeling like your typical coming of age high school nerd story, has plenty of twists, turns, and funny moments.  It will keep you guessing what happens next as you root for Dever and Feldstein to make it to their destination.  

Booksmart is a smart, sharp, hilarious comedy and the new valedictorian of the high school coming of age class.

Watch it

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