Title: Sierra Burgess is a Loser
Fix: Teen Rom-Com, Justice for Barb, Noah Centineo
A wrong-number text sparks a virtual romance between a smart but unpopular teen and a sweet jock who thinks he’s talking to a gorgeous cheerleader.
Sierra Burgess is a loser—at least in the eyes of the “popular” kids at her high school. She’s not the type of girl to let that get to her, however, and can give far better than she gets. Until, that is, Veronica (the head cheerleader) decides to give Sierra’s number out as her own, leading to adorable jock Jamey initiating a text conversation with Sierra, thinking she’s someone she’s not. And Sierra quickly gets in over her head.
Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess
Although I’ve only seen her in a few roles, Shannon never fails to impress. Sierra is a rom-com heroine for the modern age; she’s a nerd, but proud of it, and never undergoes the kind of standard, trope-y makeover that gets rid of the attributes that make her truly unique. As someone who’s always dealt with body image issues, too, it was easy to connect with Sierra’s valid teenage angst. Plus: Shannon sings in this film! Really well!
Noah Centineo as Jamey
Y’all know how much we adore Noah, and how he first caught our attention in Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Jamey is Peter Kavinsky-lite: a sweet, charming jock with a heart of gold who drives a Jeep. (Not kidding.) We just don’t get enough of his character.
Lea Thompson as Jules Osborn-Burgess
Sierra’s mom is a budget Dottie (Bianca’s mom from The DUFF). Lea can do—and has done—much better.
Alan Ruck as Stephen Burgess
Sierra’s dad is a famous writer, and Sierra wobbles to either side of the line between being proud of her dad and living in his shadow throughout the film. Alan plays the somewhat schlubby, endearing dad-type surprisingly well.
Chrissy Metz as Trish
Trish is quite the departure from the only other role I know Chrissy from: Kate Pearson from This is Us. Metz did well in the role—which I don’t want to really spoil for you—which shows that she has good range.
Loretta Devine as Ms. Thomson
Loretta is, well, devine as Ms. Thomson, Sierra and Veronica’s English teacher. The role’s a small one, but is the kind of perfect teacher trope that actually adds to the movie.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Sleepover
Sierra Burgess is a Loser is the kind of movie that’s best watched in room full of your besties all wearing their softest pajamas, eating junk food and squealing every time Noah shows up on screen.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Do a Keg Stand
At times, Sierra Burgess is a Loser is horribly awkward. Like hide your face in the sofa cushions awkward. Having a good buzz might ease the squeamies.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good, But ...
I applaud Netflix for bringing the masses the kind of teen rom-coms that we want. (Did you hear the Dumplin’ news?) But it’s important to make them good, rather than just rushing to make them. (Quality over quantity and all that.) Although it’s very cute, and features two rising stars Sierra Burgess is Loser is rife with problems, most noticeably Sierra’s abuse of consent and the lack of consequences for her actions. (Stephanie linked to a great article on this topic in yesterday’s YA Onscreen.) It’s a bit dangerous; I don’t know that, as an actual YA, I would have seen the issues. But as an adult, they were pretty glaring. I also think the movie suffered from being released after To All the Boys I Loved Before. People were looking for another hit of that level of quality, and it fell short.
That said, there were some really shining moments in the movie. And it could have been really excellent. If Netflix can take some of the criticisms I know this movie is receiving and improve on the model, they’re going to do some really great, really memorable, meaningful things.