Newest Reviews
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
  Booksmart Get The Party StartedBuy this film here.
Year: 2019
Director: Olivia Wilde
Stars: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Victoria Ruesga, Mason Gooding, Skyler Gisondo, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Billie Lourd, Eduardo Franco, Nico Hiraga, Austin Crute, Noah Galvin, Maya Rudolph
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) have been fast friends throughout high school, and now, on the last day before graduation, they feel they have succeeded in a job well done by attaining the best grades to get into the best universities in America. They have given over their lives to study for the past few years, and now can reap the benefits - but what if the benefits had their drawbacks? None of their fellow students have any time for them, mostly because they have never spent any time with them, and when Molly discovers that these party-hard peers have got the places they wanted anyway, despite not studying as hard as her and Amy, a terrible realisation hits...

Booksmart was something of an anomaly, as along with Eighth Grade which was released the same year, it was trumpeted as the great coming of age movie of 2019, an obvious relation of the runaway hit Superbad, and not simply because Feldstein was Jonah Hill's younger sister. Great things were expected of both films, yet despite terrific reviews, somehow they never caught on with any but a cult audience, and the predictions these would be much-discussed box office bonanzas were proven wrong as they underperformed and for many, slipped under their radars completely. In this case, was there just no room for another Superbad, or was it the female element putting them off?

Those who did see it and did not like it wrote off this as a pale copy of the previous movie, only with girls instead of boys as the focus, and they more or less had the same basic plot, teens trying to get into a party and let their hair down for one night as the peer pressure was instructing them to do. There was also an essential sympathy for the characters' naivety which displayed an almost parental benevolence, sort of saying "Let them have their fun today, for tomorrow they will have a lot of growing up to do," though both films ended by hinting they may not need to do as much growing up, once they were adults, as perhaps society was telling them they were responsible to be carrying out.

One thing that Superbad got right was casting a very age-specific group of young performers, so it at least came across as authentic as far as that went, yet Booksmart opted for an older cast, not incredibly overage or anything, but it was difficult to ignore most of these actors looked to be in their twenties, and that did make a difference. Not so much that it ruined the experience, but you were always aware there was a certain artificiality to the proceedings which, to be fair, director Olivia Wilde and her team of screenwriters would embrace at regular intervals, including but not exclusive to fantasy sequences such as the lead pair eating spiked strawberries and hallucinating themselves as Barbie dolls, or a sweet bit where Molly imagines being swept off her feet - literally - by her crush Nick (Mason Gooding).

Amy had a likewise bit later on where she has a near-ecstatic swim in the pool at the party, believing she will hook up with Ryan (Victoria Ruesga), the girl of her dreams, which leads to enormous frustration and embarrassment as the film was reluctant to allow its denizens to have it all their own way if it meant they could learn a life lesson to chalk up to experience. Let's not forget this was a comedy, and it was one without villains despite initial appearances to the contrary, where everyone wound up understandable and even relatable, so that generosity of spirit was welcome, but a comedy lives or dies on its jokes: did this hold up? To an extent, yes, there were amusing lines and situations, but they did tend to get lost in the endless scenes of Amy and Molly bigging each other up in confidence boost pep talks, simply because nobody else is interested in doing it for them; by the fifth time around this did grow wearing. Yet it was difficult to dislike Booksmart unless you were truly determined, since it wanted to be liked so much. Music by Dan the Automator.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 288 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: