Rebel Wilson made a splash in 2012 with her participation in Pitch Perfect. The film became a box office success, a trending topic online, and managed to create a fandom out of nowhere. Suddenly, the small musical became a sensation and the cast became stars. Rebel Wilson, was one of the most popular members of that original cast, and she was going to take the most advantage of that film success.
The Australian actress would then jump into several projects, some small and some big, where she was typically typecast as the comic relief. This didn’t seem to be a bother for Wilson, who was working endlessly and without rest. Suddenly, she seemed to be everywhere in film and television. She was in some many projects that started to become a problem. Rebel Wilson had reached over saturation, and her full decade of work stopped out of nowhere.
Now, it’s 2022 and Rebel Wilson is back with a new Netflix movie. The actress has gone through a physical transformation that made her lose a lot of weight. She might look different, but her spirit and energy is the same. However, the things that made Wilson feel overwhelming and sometimes annoying are also there. In this new film, Wilson takes her new appearance but tries to do nothing different from before, which leaves her and us with a movie that isn’t exactly funny, and it actually feels outdated in many aspects.
Senior Year is a film directed by Alex Hardcastle, a director who only has done one TV movie before this film, and stars Rebel Wilson, Justine Hartley, Angourie Rice, Sam Richardson, Zoe Chao, Mary Holland, and Chris Parnell. The movie tells the story of Stephanie, a young girl who dreams of having a perfect life, being rich, married and having a smoking body. However, when trying to perform a complex choreography with her cheerleading team, Stephanie suffers an accident that leaves in a coma for 20 years. Now awake, she returns to high school to finish her senior year.
The movie’s premise is quite outrageous, and it feels like it could be the source of many jokes, good jokes, that could connect both generations, the current one and the one from the 2000s. Nevertheless, the resulting movie is a bland and generic comedy that relies on too many familiar conventions and countless clichés. At this point in the history of cinema, movies that execute on this type of ideas are just outdated in every single way.
As you watch the movie, you feel that maybe Rebel Wilson was never really that funny. Her comeback feels rushed, and she might have wanted to look for a better project to make her comeback. If at least the film could execute these old ideas in a rocking and exciting way, then the movie could get a pass. But in its current form, this is a movie we have seen many times before, and in better ways.
The script by Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli, and Brandon Scott Jones, feels alike an amalgamation of every single teen movie from the 2000s and tries to make fun of the current state of this type of movies. Movies that try to be inclusive and talk about more than just being popular. The fact the movie focuses so much on this topic is enough proof that, just like Wilson’s character, the film is stuck in the pass. The jokes and situations are not funny, they are cringy at best.
The visual palette also feel stuck in the past, with Hardcastle making little use of the frame to make thing feel funny. He seems to be content with pointing the camera at the actors and then let them recite the script or Ad lib the jokes as they come to their minds. This is a fast and loose way of making a movie, you could say it is easier, but the final product suffer from inconsistency, and in the case of a comedy, lack of focus on the jokes.
The performances all fall on the side of, maybe they should have thought about this a bit more. Only the young actors that play the roles of Stephanie’s new classmates come across as likable and happy to be doing the movie. The adults feel in autopilot, and because the movie spends most of the time with them, instead of with the younger generation, the movie lacks the energy that these new actors can provide.
The soundtrack is also filled with many songs that have been selected as a way to appeal to the nostalgia factor that the generation that grew up during the 2000 would feel at hearing them. Yes, that is the intention, but just like with every other decision around, the songs make the movie feel old, lacking in new ideas or new ways to execute them. It is pretty sad when Britney Spears comes on and people start dancing, and it just doesn’t feel exciting at all.
Senior Year takes a wacky premise and throws it to the ground by making it feel boring and just bland. The movie feels unfocused, and the jokes could have been proven beforehand a bit more, the whole script in general could have been so much better with a couple more drafts. It doesn’t matter anyway, for those who would watch it, the film will serve as empty entertainment and disappear from their minds right when the credits roll.