Courtesy of Annapurna
Youth is alive and well in Olivia Wilde’s outrageous directorial debut: “Booksmart” - which is the basic equivalent of “Lady Superbad” but far more inclusive and features sharper writing.
The savvy teen comedy follows a pair of high school besties - Amy (Kaitlyn Dever of “Justified” fame) and Molly (“Lady Bird’s” own Beanie Feldstein) - that, after figuring out all their high school partying peers have been accepted to the same ivy league schools they’ve worked so hard to get into, decide to cram four years worth of reckless and degnerent behavior into one night before graduation. The results include a hilarious mix of acid trips, an awkward murder mystery shindig thrown by the theatre kids, a police escape, and an attempt to lose their virginities.
It’s all standard in terms of high school raunchy comedies (complete with the occasional porn or masterbation gag) - but there’s a real warmth to the way Wilde and her talented crew unravel these outlandish scenarios the further down the rabbit hole it goes. Feldstein feels right at home playing the uptight and Yale bound Molly and Dever’s Amy is the perfect co-pilot who just seems to go with the flow.
But what’s more impressive is how Wilde chooses to tackle issues of sexuality and representation - unlike “Superbad” which was on another wavelength in terms of sexual conquests. It’s not very often you’ll see a gay main character going through the struggles of dating in a mainstream studio release, and that’s refreshing.
“Booksmart” also keeps the cameos fast and loose, featuring - among others - Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow and Jason Sudeikis - further giving street cred to the longevity of the picture, which I guarantee will become a cult sensation.
In other words, “Booksmart” makes the grade and aces the test.