“We have to go to a party tonight. Nobody knows that we’re fun!”
What would you do if you only had one night to prove to the world that you know how to have a good time? “Booksmart,” actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, sets out to answer that question. While the “high school party” film genre has been done many times before, Wilde set out to show the scenario from a different perspective.
“Booksmart” takes place on the last day of high school for the class 2019 in Los Angeles. Amy and Molly spent the past four years doing nothing but studying, devoting every second to making sure that they get the best grades possible so that they will succeed in the future.
When Molly learns that all of the people she saw as idiots are just as successful as her, she decides that she and Amy have been wasting their time. With only one night left to party before high school ends, the two set out to show the rest of the school that there is more to them than just book smarts.
This film was much better than it had any right to be. While I went in expecting an unfunny, generic high school movie, I got a film that consistently made me laugh and actually made me care about its characters.
Without a doubt, the best thing about the film is its script by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman. “Booksmart” not only had me laughing hysterically for almost the entire film, but also had characters that felt like more than stereotypes.
Every character in “Booksmart” feels three-dimensional. No one is a caricature; each character does things that make them feel like real people, which is impressive for a high school movie, where characters usually fall into two-dimensional roles such as “bully” or “jock.”
The great writing is supported by stellar performances across the board. No one in this film was subpar and, with so many relatively unknown actors in the film, it makes me excited to see what they each do next.
The standouts were, of course, the film’s leads, Kaitlyn Denver and Beanie Feldstein. The two are consistently hilarious and have fantastic chemistry together. It felt as if I was watching two real best friends interact instead of two actresses.
The only real issue I have with “Booksmart” is that a few of its jokes don’t land, including a long scene in the second act of the film where Amy and Molly take drugs. While the film isn’t very long, this whole five-minute sequence could’ve been cut, and the film would’ve been better for it.
Overall, “Booksmart” is one of the best comedies I have seen in from the past decade. The future looks bright for not only the actors in the film, but also the film’s director, Olivia Wilde, and I personally can’t wait to see whatever her next project is.