Directed by: Quinn Shephard
Distributed by: Hulu
Written by Jeff Sparks
Before it even starts Hulu’s “Not Okay” starring Zoey Deutch issues a content warning that the film features an “unlikeable female protagonist”. But with the always charismatic Deutch as the lead, I found myself wondering if I could dislike any character played by her. Deutch plays Danni Sanders, a desperate woman who lies about going on a writer’s trip to Paris to get attention. Unfortunately for her, a terrorist attack occurred the same weekend she was supposedly in Paris. Instead of coming clean she uses the tragedy to bolster her fame and offends countless supporters, friends, and family members in the process. One person she hurts is a real victim of violence that Danni befriends. At first, she only befriends her to leech off her followers, but then finds herself conflicted when she sees the effect tragedy has on her new friend. The film often uses black comedy to clown modern trends and the social media-obsessed society of today but neither the comedy nor the plot is enough to warrant a recommendation from me. Fortunately for the film, the performances are worthy, although nothing too remarkable. Deutch is solid, but far from her best. Her co-star Dylan O’Brien is quite funny in an unexpected role and might be the best part of the film.
It’s not that I don’t like “Not Okay,” I don’t even think it’s bad. I just don’t find it to be special. It’s subject matter causes one to consider that the film might have something interesting to say, but it doesn’t. At least nothing I didn’t already know. The filmmaking fails to impress, it’s camera work is average. There are no memorable shots, no interesting imagery, nothing of that sort. The dialogue is interesting at times, other times it’s funny but there were never any scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. One thing the film attempts to do is use an image of the terrorist from Paris that Danni sees as a metaphor for her inner guilt, but it doesn’t have significant impact, it feels cheap. Deutch has captured lightning in a bottle so many times with her performances but the films she’s accomplished that in are a lot like “Not Okay” in the sense that they are not great, they’re just okay.
“Not Okay” Trailer