STUDENTS: Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) take on the party scene for better or worse.

Booksmart

  • Comedy; Cert R16. contains drug use, sexual references and offensive language; 1hr 45mins
  • Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis, WIll Forte, Beanie Feldstein and Billie Lourd
  • Director: Olivia Wilde

AMY AND Molly spent all their time in school studying — now it’s graduation and they want to bust loose but they’re just too nerdy.

Despite being compared to 2007’s breakout comedy Superbad, Booksmart is a smarter example of the contemporary teen comedy. Rather than dwelling on raging hormones and free-flowing alcohol, this coming-of-age comedy has a decidedly more feminine bent while still managing to break a few taboos.

While correcting misspelled graffiti in the toilets, Molly (Beanie Feldstein – Lady Bird) overhears the school slackers (unaware she is in earshot) mocking her nerdiness. In what would otherwise be a withering comeback where she foresees her future at an ivy league University while the slackers flip hamburgers — she is shot down when told they have been accepted into more prestigious schools than she.

This is a seminal moment for school president Molly. With the realisation that it was possible to have fun and still graduate, she and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever — Detroit) decide they can have one big bash before graduation. The problem — nobody told them where the party is.

Enter poor little rich kid, Jared (Skyler Gisondo – Vacation). He knows where the party is but it’s not the same one Molly and Amy want to go to. This is where we meet Gigi (Billie Lourd – American Horror Story), the only other person at the party, who becomes Molly and Amy’s spiritual guide — popping up throughout the film offering sage words of advice as needed.

When they finally arrive at the party, where Amy hopes to impress skater girl Ryan (newcomer Victoria Ruesga), it is revealed that Molly has a crush on school vice-president and chick-magnet Nick (newcomer Mason Gooding). Booksmart is not just another teen movie. It goes deeper than most — delving into the dramas of youth and emerging with a glowing testimony to the value of friendship.

8/10

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz