#REVIEW: “SENIOR YEAR”
By Mr. Will Wong
Alex Hardcastle (The Mindy Project, New Girl) makes his Feature directorial debut in the spirited SENIOR YEAR and we can’t get enough of it! It’s been far too long since we’ve seen a fun, heart-filled Romantic-Comedy and this is exactly that. All while poking a little fun both at Culture at the turn of the millennium and today, woke and all. Add to that the charisma we love of funnywoman Rebel Wilson, and we’re completely sold!
The story centers on Stephanie Conway (Wilson and her younger self played by Angourie Rice), the “It Girl” and frontrunner to win Prom Queen. She’s a cheerleader with the hottest boyfriend and everyone wants to be her. While doing a routine, she’s tossed high in the air and nobody catches her fall. She sustains some serious injuries and goes into a coma. She then, pardon the pun, is “awoken”, nearing her 40s. This of course is a huge shock to her, still mentally being her 17-year-old self. She goes back to high school to get her diploma, but times are quite different and there’s now this thing called Social Media. She finds herself once again competing with arch-nemesis Tiffany‘s (Zoë Chao) and daughter Bri (Jade Bender) for coveted Prom Queen. And of course, re-capturing the eye of her high school sweetheart Blaine (Justin Hartley), who happens to be married now to Tiffany and is Bri’s dad. Stephanie does have a bit of growing-up to do. Getting a second shot at high school and the crown, will she make the same mistakes she made 20 years ago, which could set her life path?
SENIOR YEAR possesses many of the charms that other turn-back-time Comedies had – 13 Going on 30, Peggy Sue Got Married, to name a couple. It benefits from a heightened energy and a fearless frontwoman who isn’t afraid to just go for it and that being said, we couldn’t see anyone else other than Wilson in this lead role. We also loved 2019’s Isn’t it Romantic which she led, and the Film is like a perfect companion piece to that, complete with musical numbers.
Many of the laughs here come at Stephanie‘s obliviousness to the inclusive standards of the day and how things work now, plus a plethora of lewd jokes which warrant the Film’s R-rating. But we’re here for it, proud of the fact that we loved it and would watch it again in a heartbeat! The Film is endearing and ballsy, and we cannot get enough of the throwbacks. And yes, Alicia Silverstone even gets a cameo.
Where the Film falters a bit is its turning point where Stephanie has to grow-up and make wiser choices, and there it doesn’t quite nail the sentiment to make it truly affecting. We cannot deny how much fun though that we had still. We would’ve paid to see this in-theatres, but SENIOR YEAR arrives in Netflix Friday, May 13, 2022.