The R-rated comedy "Booksmart" is being touted as the female "Superbad," but that's because it's super-good.
"Booksmart" is a smart (pun intended), hilarious comedy that is powered by an amazing, mostly unknown cast of young adults. The premise is fairly commonplace: It's the last night before high school graduation and so-and-so popular kid is throwing a huge party, the likes of which have never been seen before. It's the last hurrah, or in the case of uber-nerds Amy and Molly (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein), it's their first hurrah...they plan to go balls-to-the-wall in an attempt to finally experience a side of high school that they simply have not ever considered.
This marks the feature-film directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, who does a great job of immediately establishing the off-kilter, comedic tone of the film. She also has a way of making things feel extremely lived-in, helped out of course by a great ensemble that beyond Dever and Feldstein, includes Skylar Gisondo, Mason Gooding, Eduardo Franco, Noah Galvin, Austin Crute, Diana Silvers and Molly Gordon. Haven't heard of any of these fine young actors? You will. A special shout-out to Molly Gordon (previously seen in Hulu's "Ramy") who - mark my words - will be a household name at some point. I've also saved Billie Lourd - Carrie Fisher's daughter - as an extra-credit mention...she plays a character so eccentrically unique that it marks the actress's first real star turn.
In movies like this, the adults are often strange goofballs, so it's no surprise that Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte and Lisa Kudrow all add to the fun in their small supporting roles.
The movie is foul and raunchy at times, but it's all about the strong friendship between Amy and Molly. Both Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are outstanding. It's also important to point out that this is a movie about female friendship, directed by a woman and written by women (four to be exact, with the script credited to Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Katie Silberman).
This is a story usually reserved for horny adolescent males, given a fresh spin. "Booksmart" is hilarious, and flows with a special kind of energy and confidence, and despite utilizing an established premise, is anything but by-the-book.
Run Time: 1 hour 42 minutes.
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Skylar Gisondo, Mason Gooding, Eduardo Franco, Noah Galvin, Austin Crute, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow.
Directed by Olivia Wilde (feature-film directorial debut).
"Booksmart" opens in theaters on Friday, May 24th, 2019.
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