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GrahamS.

Booksmart (2019)

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A coming of age comedy that’s kinda like Superbad for women. When it came out, some guys made idiotic “it’s ripping Superbad off so it’s terrible” comments. It successfully makes the material its own and is very funny, I think. It’s currently streaming on Hulu and worth checking out, or worth renting if you don’t have Hulu.

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Anyone calling Booksmart a rip off of Superbad needs to realize that Superbad isn't the even close to the first "high schoolers try to get to a party movie." The are similarities between the two but the are similarities with Booksmart and Dazed And Confused and The Stoned Age and American Graffiti.

I liked this a lot. The leads are all funny. The emotional moments really work well and are believable. It's just an all around great movie. 

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I really wanted to like it more than i did. It's fine for what it is, but with all the noise that was made around it, between the idiots complaining about " ugh, GIRLS!!! ", but also the film makers themselves saying that the film wasn't successful because " people didn't support indie films and/or/with women and that's why we can't get nice things ", i really thought i was up for something amazing. And it wasn't. It was fine. It isn't a rip off of Super Bad because that film has been made a thousand times, and it didn't do better in the box office maybe because of incels, sure, but also maybe because it's just fine. It's just a perfectly fine, at times funny film. 

 

It's kind of a more realistic-feeling* Lady Bird, while also wanting you to believe that Billie Lourd is a teenager. It has problems with tone, and with being basically the same old story that you've seen many times before. It does have a slightly different POV because it was directed by a woman, and you can tell the difference. It is, at times, very funny. If you're having doubts about seeing it, you can definitely give it a pass. If you want to see something that isn't superheroes or post-apocalyptic distopias, please, see this instead. It's fine. It's a nice movie, and i don't mean nice in a demeaning way. Well, not too much.

 

*Lady Bird is infinitely better than this. 

 

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It's absolutely hilarious and in my opinion much funnier than Superbad which I never really got into. As a former type A teenage girl, it was nice to watch a silly teen movie where girls like that were the leads. There's also a bit of absurdism to the movie, which was a welcome surprise. I also appreciated the diverse cast and the LGBTQ representation. Easily one of my top movies of the year.

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I guess the similarity to Superbad is that it is specifically about two teenage friends trying to go to a party, only now they are girls (and also you have one who is short and stocky and one who is taller and slim).

But despite the similarity in the plot setup the rest of the approach is pretty different. Superbad seems like it's more specifically about the nostalgic memories of the people who made it, despite being officially set in the present day (I mean, Van Halen dominates the soundtrack), while Booksmart feels more of the current day. 

I'd also like to point out that the movie actually did fine relative to its budget. I think the pattern of release was a mistake, trying to dump it into a lot of theaters in the middle of summer. That created financial expectations the movie couldn't match. Would have been better to have a gradual staggered release like a typical indie, so word of mouth can get around. Even so, $22 million domestic gross for a $6 million budget is fine.

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