Reviewed by: Greg Mueller

Greg's Score:









Production Design






Emotional Impact



I really wanted to love Booksmart. After seeing the same damn trailer on YouTube a couple of times a day for a over a months, I loved the energy, the premise, and I love Kaitlyn Dever, so I had high hopes. The problem is that Olivia Wilde couldn't just let Booksmart be a fun comedy movie; she had to make it "Woke". Our two main characters (Amy and Molly) keep talking about the Obama's, Molly writes a speech telling straight white men that their time is up, they have a little bit about "Sex vs Gender", they bring up protests multiple times, and it's all just stupid crap. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein have great chemistry, but I found them both very annoying and the sections where they are clearly improving go on way too long and never manage to find the joke they were looking for. The whole movie was kind of annoying. Everything is super unrealistic and the entire plot is just a series of cliches. While I was impressed with Wilde's cinematography (especially the pool scene), she often uses music to manipulate us and tell us how to feel. The cast are great actors, so having booming rap songs overpowering scenes is so unnecessary and deflating. There are two scenes (one big and one little) that really kill the film for me. Without ruining any of the plot, the obligatory 2nd act fight scene has an argument where the characters' voices are muted and we instead hear a loud, melodramatic pop song that lets us know that this is where we are supposed to feel sad. As I said before, all of the acting is great, so cutting their dialog to add another song to the soundtrack is disloyal to the actors. There is an event with one of their school teachers later in the film that is treated as a humorous and even sort of "Girl Power"-ish, but if the genders were flipped and it was a male teacher, there is no way the scene would have made it to theaters and if it somehow did, there would be protests. There were a handful of scenes where I was unable to stifle my laughter, but for most of the movie I was sitting in the theater with a grimace. I keep hearing Booksmart pitched as the female Superbad, I hated Superbad, but I can see what other's liked about it. Booksmart is not anything like Superbad beyond the generic plot point that it's two seniors who want to go to a party. Superbad was a fun, dumb comedy and Booksmart is a propaganda piece poorly costumed as a comedy. They just don't put enough effort into the comedy. They do have great characters that feel authentic, but everything plays out way too fast. It goes back to how unrealistic the movie is. Relationships skip 50 steps and there weren't more than a handful of scenes that felt real. For a directorial debut, I was impressed with Olivia Wilde, but as a movie I was very disappointed. I can see pieces of a great movie, but the movie is so over the top and preachy. I wish they wrote a comedy movie first instead of trying to put comedy in after the fact.