Wow, this is a fun and smart film. I’d heard all the critical hype about “Booksmart” when it was released last year, but didn’t get around to seeing it, although I didn’t get around to seeing many films in the theatre. So I was happy when “Booksmart” showed up on Hulu recently and finally saw it. Yes, it’s another high school film, but this one like its characters is a bit smarter and funnier than the rest, I think.
First-time director Olivia Wilde cast the film very well, with the leads Beanie Feldstein (“Hello Dolly”) and Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing) seeming like real best friends and nerds alike, suddenly waking up to the realization the day before graduation that despite the fact that they studied through high school and eschewed fun, their classmates also got into top schools despite drinking, partying, cutting up and breaking rules. So they’re determined to get to the premier Graduation Eve party and hit some milestones (i.e. first kiss, etc.) before it’s all over and they go their separate ways. There’s also great turns from (especially) Billie Lourd (“Star Wars”), Noah Galvin (“Dear Evan Hansen”), Jason Sudekis, Jessica Williams, and many others.
It’s directed with great style and verve, making a point of continually puncturing not only the tropes of teen comedies but also the self-delusions of the main characters (who are young and still learning, of course). I could have done with a little less of the “contemporary” blasting soundtrack since of course I’m old and little of the new music these days sounds good or original to me.
It’s won a raft of awards but curiously has received not even one Oscar nomination. Hmmm.