Senior Year

Directed by: Alex Hardcastle
Distributed by: Netflix

Written by Alexander Reams


Ah, high school, a time of change, the search for approval and popularity, and the discovery of romance. High school, and primary school to an extent, are rarely shown in an accurate way, the closest being “Eighth Grade” and “Dazed and Confused”. What looks to be another “trash Netflix movie” instead denotes being a “trashy romcom”. As much as this writer enjoys some of the tried and true tropes of the iconic “romcom” genre, there are still lines that cannot be crossed, such as that you can only have one of the leads turn in a trashy performance, otherwise, the ratio of fine to bad is unbalanced, thus the film is crushed under the weight of its own hubris, and this happens throughout Hardcastle’s poorly crafted film. From the beginning we meet Stephanie Conway (at first portrayed by Angourie Rice (1999-2002 part), then Rebel Wilson(2022 part) and zoom through (in less than 5 minutes) what most 80s high school comedies spend their entire runtime (around 90 minutes) contemplating, going from social outcast to high school celebrity. While this isn’t a huge issue, it’s still somewhat confusing for a film that heavily relies on nostalgia from the 90s (I guess we are done with 80s nostalgia for the most part then… would’ve been nice to know but I digress), it would’ve made much more sense to follow that path and add a different twist. 

In 2002 Stephanie is in an accident and falls into a coma, after which we jump forward another 20 years as she wakes up, leading to the next two lines that are crossed in this horrendous romcom; the fish out of water scenario and the recent trend of over-wokeness within romcoms, this isn’t a bashing of “wokeness”, more of a questioning of why romcoms feel the need to constantly be that, and they shouldn’t swing to the complete other side of the spectrum either. The former line that was crossed takes the film in a dangerous direction, relying on nostalgia heavily, a trope that is already fairly weak, instead of quality character development and actors with genuine chemistry, the worst of all being Rebel Wilson, while she gained significant notoriety in the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, here she is somehow even more annoying, and this writer thought after “Pitch Perfect 3” and “The Brothers Grimsby” that wasn’t possible. At the halfway point of the film, I was praying that it would end, that its endless cringiness would cease, the jokes that despite being modern in verbiage, were more dated than any nostalgia “remember this?!” moment, and that everyone would stop spewing the dialogue that reeked of poor craftsmanship and inexperience. Do not watch this, do not look for this movie on Netflix, just hope that it goes the way of (most, “Hubie Halloween” is a cinematic classic) Adam Sandler’s fare on the streaming giant.

“Senior Year” Trailer

“Senior Year” is streaming on Netflix.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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