• Nate Adams

Review: Feminist comedy 'Moxie' needs more spunk


Courtesy of Netflix

Coming from half the brainchild of “Mean Girls,” I assumed Amy Poehler’s empowering feminist comedy “Moxie” would be a more scathing indictment of the misogynistic behavors plaguing high schools, but was surprised to see it play things safe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing considering the talent pool assembled, except the laughs are scarce and the subject matter doesn’t hit as strong as you’d like.


Based on Jennifer Mathiue’s bestselling YA novel, “Moxie” follows 16-year old Vivan (Hadley Robinson) who’s mom (played by Poehler in a smaller role) was a feminist rebel back in the day and whose attitude has molded her personality. Things are relatively normal for Vivan as she’s got a college future planned with bestie Claudia (Lauren Tsai) and she floats under the school’s radar, avoiding a label on the jock’s offensive rating scale which includes categories: “Most Bangable” and “Most Obedient.” Of course, when any of this is brought to the principle - played by Marcia Gay Harden - she doesn’t bat an eye and serious accusations are thrown out the window. A painful reminder of the victim-shaming that exists today.


To combat this, Vivan creates a pro-feminist zine dubbed “Moxie” where the patriarch is put into question, and together with a small group of friends - including the new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) - and the obligatory cute and supportive loverboy Seth (Nico Hiraga) - attempt to topple the reign of football star Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger) who’s tight grip on the school’s social scene makes him a tough but easy opponent and they ignite a grassroots feminist revolution among the student body.


“Moxie” tackles everything from bullying, rape, and diveristy awareness in a tidy, easily digestible PG13 package, but the razor-sharp edge (and satirical element) that Poehler tries to facilitate never finds its apex. “Moxie” is the equivalent of a light afternoon snack that feeds you temporarily, but slowly leaves you searching the cupboard for more substance. Poehler deserves credit for starting a conversation (as underdeveloped as it is) though for all its good intentions, “Moxie” needs more spunk.


Grade: C


MOXIE debuts on Netflix Wednesday, March 3rd.