Booksmart is a comedy about two academic superstars and best friends on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.
It’s the eve of high school graduation. Molly and Amy have been putting their noses to the grindstone for the last four years. Like woke, good-natured Traceys Flick, they spend their time feeling sorry for the idiots they go to school with. After all, their hard work paid off: they got into Yale and Columbia.
When they find out that all of their loser classmates—whether they’re known for drugs, partying, or skating—also got into Ivies, their entire worldview is shattered. What have they been doing this entire time? Clearly it’s time to cram four years’ worth of classic high school experiences into one epic night. Booksmart is what you’d get if you crossed Can’t Hardly Wait with Superbad, and it’s about damn time.
Beanie Feldstein as Molly
Kaitlyn Dever as Amy
Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine, Amy’s mom
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Drink with Your Hard-Earned Wisdom
The joy of Booksmart—even if you don’t deeply identify with Molly and Amy on a molecular level like I do—is that it lovingly unravels the girls’ neuroses. They’ve been the “good,” “smart girls” for so long that they don’t realize they’ve been looking down upon their classmates for all this time. (Kind of like the straight-edge kids at your high school who took it beyond drugs and alcohol and also swore off soda and processed food.) So when the girls finally let loose, they also let go of a lot of their preconceived notions, and learn that they hardly knew the people they spent every school day with for the last four years.
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We’ve had years of male-driven buddy comedies, so seeing one with lady leads, writers and director—gross-out humor and all—is a damn delight. I loved Molly and Amy’s healthy friendship (they get caught up in compliment loops that would put the Bard to shame), and how leaving for college is a strain. After all, who wants to leave the person that they’re so close to, it’s actually part of their identity?
Nothing is off limits in this movie, from scissoring (“That’s not a thing.” “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” “Okay, but that’s not a thing.”) to barf, sexuality to wealth inequality, and social consciousness to putting others down to make ourselves feel better. Molly and Amy have perfect chemistry together, and the only wistful part about the movie is that you wonder if that rapid-fire banter will survive their collegiate separation. In the words of the great philosophers Blink 182, I guess this is growing up.