Sure, this Summer hasn’t every officially kicked off yet, but we’re so charmed by Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut with Booksmart to say that it should reign in the coming-of-age comedy sub genre in 2019 like Blockers did in 2018.
First off, we want to say that Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever’s performances really are the sparks that get this movie cooking. Their performances, for our money, should put Hollywood on notice of their arrival.
Overall, there’s a certain hope that we get from how Gen Z is depicted throughout the movie in a way that avoids being disingenuous. It’s refreshing to see a teen comedy that has hope for the future as its two leads are both high achievers, but are also fully realized as teens clawing for their first taste of freedom. The framework for the classic high school buddy comedy is there without pandering to any generation in particular.
One could very easily say that it’s a “woke Superbad”, but that is being too reductive of our tastes and ignores the nuances that Wilde and writers Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katherine Silberman, Emily Halpern crafted into the film. Booksmart truly manages a delicate balance of being a broad comedy, but still having lot of heart and warmth without forcing it.
Booksmart comes out nationwide on May 24th, but there are special advanced screenings that start tomorrow. Get all the details here.