(director/writer: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson; screenwriter: Celeste Ballard; cinematographer: Brian Burgoyne; editors: David Clark/Lori Ball; music: Este Hein/Amanda Yamate; cast: Austin Abrams (Max), Camilla Mendes (Drea Torres), Maya Hawke (Eleanor), Britt Douyon (nurse), (Jonathan Daviss (Elliot), Paris Berelc (Meaghan), Maia Reficco (Montana), Rish Shah (Russ), Alisha Boe (Tara),Talia Rider (Gabbi); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Anthony Bregman/Peter Cron/Jennifer Kaytin Robinson; Netflix; 2022)
“I could probably like this dull film a little better if I were into nasty girl ’90s teen comedies.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A playful but overlong satire of obsessed teens seeking revenge in high school. It’s filled with nasty zingers and sassy teen talk among the Gen Z crowd. It’s slickly filmed by director/writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (“Someone Great”) and is witlessly co-written by Celeste Ballard.
Obsessed with revenge are the high school students Drea Torres (Camilla Mendes), pretending to be rich even though her single parent mom is merely a nurse (Britt Douyon) and, the timid new transfer student, Maya Hawke (Eleanor). Both attend the upper-crust Rosehill Academy in Miami. It’s a school with many cliques (from the ‘zodiac’ crowd to the ‘Mean Girl’ crowd). Drea plays the ambitious student who gets accepted to Yale. The principal (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the only adult star (while I might be the only senior citizen viewer).
Drea hangs out with the beautiful people — Tara (Alisha Boe), Elliot (Jonathan Daviss), Meghan (Paris Berelc) and Montana (Maia Reficco). The wealthy and popular Max (Austin Abrams) is her boyfriend and senior class president.
When Max “allegedly” leaks a raunchy nude tape of Drea, in retaliation she punches him in public. But her dreams of going to Yale vanish when her application is rejected because Max sent them the photos.
At a summer tennis camp, Drea meets Eleanor, who was outed by her girlfriend Carissa (Ava Capri) for being a lesbian predator. The girls agree to team up and go after the enemy of the other to avoid detection (somebody has been watching Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train”).
At the Senior Ring Ceremony, the girls spike the soup with the psychedelic mushrooms Carussa is growing in her green room. This gets those at the dinner event stoned. Thereby the revenge-seeking girls steal Max’s cell and get a list of the girls he’s cheating on. Eleanor contacts them and tells Tara, Max’s main girlfriend, all the other girls Max is seeing behind her back. Drea reports to the school about Carussa growing drugs in her green room which gets her expelled.
But their revenge plans backfire, as does its twisted plot.
I could probably like this dull film a little better if I were into nasty girl ’90s teen comedies.
REVIEWED ON 9/28/2022 GRADE: C+