10 Good Bits (And 5 Bad Ones) In Rebel Wilson’s Senior Year
Let’s say on the scale of great female-led high school movies, Mean Girls is a 10/10. Netflix’s new Rebel Wilson comedy Senior Year is probably in the 7 or 8 range. There is a lot to like about this movie featuring Chris Parnell, Sam Richardson, and Mary Holland, but a few spots that fell flat. Here are 10 great bits from Senior Year and 5 not-so-great.
Good: Making Out In Front Of Teacher
This reveal got a great, genuine laugh. Young Stephanie and Blaine are making out hardcore and arguing about her upcoming party. The shot then cuts from close up to wide, revealing that they have been in the middle of a class the entire time and the teacher asks Stephanie to please go back to her seat.
Good: The Liquor List
Just a great line that summarizes high school drinking when Tiffany describes what drinks she’ll have at her party.
“Open bar. Jager, Mikes's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice. All the good sh*t.”
If only Twisted Tea had been around.
Bad: The Sock Joke
Seth uses a crusty stiff sock to dry his bleeding head.
“I need that sock back it’s Blaine's. We use it for handies.”
Not the worst joke, just a little tired. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again a thousand times over until socks are no longer around.
Good: The R-Word Conversation
“What if something really is R-word? What do you call it, like super gay?”
Senior Year had a great opportunity to comment on our vernacular change as a country since the 2000s and executed it with grace. Obviously, a high schooler from the early aughts would not be aware that some of their more popular insults are actually offensive.
Good: The Car Jump
Senior Year is full of some great pratfalls including my favorite: the out of nowhere body roll out of a moving car. Rebel gets up like nothing happened - brilliant execution. 10/10.
Bad: The Final Dance Sequence
Alright, we were trying so hard to stay away from the cheesy, but we really gave in at the end didn't we? The final half-hour of this film is where the comedy really dies down and they shove in the character building. Sadly, they top it off with a choreographed dance number, that includes all the teachers and members of the audience. Is the movie going by musical rules now? Everyone can dance? Everyone knows the moves for some reason? I can’t tell if it’s intentionally breaking the rules of reality, or if we’re supposed to believe this dance actually makes sense. It doesn’t feel like it's making fun of something cliche or cheesy, it just IS being cliche and cheesy.
Good: The Entrance
Stephanie insists on making an entrance to high school, which is established when she’s still young. When it’s adult Stephanie's turn, it’s still a golden montage of Rebel looking cool, but with an intercut of what it looks like in reality. All the music and coloring cuts out to reveal Rebel awkwardly dancing her way to the building.
Good: Chris Parnell and Sam Richardson’s Conversation
Chris Parnell and Sam Richardson give such subtle, yet grounded and impressive performances in this film, you could forget they are both talented comedians themselves until they talk one on one. Parnell grilling Richardson about whether he wants a beer, and if he needs a condom for prom night are the hardest I laughed up to that point.
Bad: Teen Lingo
A problem with high school movies written by much older adults is always the need to sound “hip,” which is often missed resulting in fake-sounding dialogue.
“I’m really living for this vintage fit and I’m not even JK-ing.”
Now that's what I call a teen!
Good: The Prom Dance
This is the RIGHT way to do an unexplained dance in a comedy. The moment after Stephanie wins prom queen, she and the prom king, Lance (Michael Cimino), break into a heartfelt interpretive dance. Stephanie rips off her mom's prom dress to reveal it’s actually a onesie underneath (ridiculous in a good way) and the dance climaxes with a jump and lift from the pair. This is around where the movie probably should’ve ended.
Good: The Makeup Tutorial
Rebel’s face with all the different shapes of makeup splattered on is a great visual gag. As someone who does not wear makeup, I also have no idea how those shapes turn into a full face, so it made me feel less alone.
Stephanie: “There's only 3 ways to become popular, become a cheerleader, work at Abercombie or to let guys go in the back door.”
Yaz: “I must be really popular then.”
There's nothing wrong with a flamboyantly gay character, in fact, many gay people do indeed go to high school. However, Yaz talks a lot about boning guys, like… it’s his whole personality. His character is “the gay one” and there's not much depth underneath it. Joshua Colley who plays Yaz gives a good performance, but the writing is where his character struggles.
Good: The Consent Cheer
The first cheer sequence of the new and improved bulldoggettes is a classically executed use of surprising irony. Setting up the joke with a wholesome cheer about consent, then the twist of the cheer devolving into hypersexual choreography is *chef’s kiss.*
Good: The Theater Handjob
Adult Stephanie gives Seth (Sam Richardson) a fake hand job using a cup and straw to piss off Tiffany, and it's some of the best hand job mime work I’ve seen. Both actors fully commit to the bit, which is really the only proper way to do a mime handjob.
Bad: Tiffany and The Twins
If you saw this movie and weren’t thinking this, then we’re very different people. Tiffany and the twins committed attempted murder and there were zero repercussions? There’s no talk of a trial or that they put her in a coma for 20 years. If they hadn’t so clearly pushed the spotters away from Stephanie, then it’d be a different story, but WE SEE them push them away! Give us SOME reference to that!
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Top Image: Netflix