Title: Candy Jar
Released: 2018

Fix: High School Dram-Rom-Com, Enemistry, Overachieving Students, Revisiting the Fear of Senior Year
Platform: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

It’s a sweet story about bitter rivals. They’re great under pressure—and terrible at teenage romance.

FYA Summary:

Two rival debate students—Lona and Bennett—realize that spending their entire lives prepping for college isn’t everything high school’s supposed to be.

Familiar Faces:

Tom Bergeron as Principal Nelson

Did you know that Bergeron can actually act, not just host things? I didn’t.

Helen Hunt as Kathy

I LOVE Hunt as Kathy, the guidance counselor. I want to go to her with my life issues, and I know she’d have good advice, regardless of the fact that I am definitely no longer a high school student. Plus, she’s got a TON of candy in various jars around her office, and it seems to be readily available for anyone who’s in there. Eat your feelings while talking about your feelings? Yes, please.

Christina Hendricks as Amy

I feel like I’ve watched Hendricks frequently play the somewhat flighty, yet well-meaning mother-type, and Amy is yet another example. She’s real good at it, though.

Uzo Aduba as Senator Julia Russell

I’ve never seen Orange is the New Black—I know, I know—which Aduba is most well known for, but man if she didn’t have the passive aggressive positivity down pat in this role. I pity anyone who has to go up against Senator Russell in a debate.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Got Kids?

Although Candy Jar is very cute, it’s not the kind of movie I’d recommend watching with your adult friends, unless they bring their high school-aged kids with them. The movie is a cautionary tale of judging too harshly without knowing all the details and maybe worrying a little too much about what it takes to get into college, so it’s good for kids of high school age or kids who will eventually be high school age to watch. The adults can later commiserate about how much of what they did in high school had absolutely no effect on their later lives.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice

Candy Jar isn’t the kind of high school movie that necessitates alcohol—there are only a few cringy moments—nor is it the kind of high school movie that focuses on the kids who actually drank during those years. (You know, so that I provide a suggestion on what type of alcohol to imbibe.) But if you’re reminded of yourself when watching, I might suggest pausing the movie and making a drink, because it can be hard to watch that sort of close scrutiny of oneself.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good

As someone who was a bit of an overachiever in high school, watching this movie was nostalgic, in both good and terrible ways. I like to think I wasn’t nearly as bad as Lona and Bennett, but I’m sure there were moments I was more like them than I would have wanted. Regardless, it was a super cute high school romantic comedy that leaned more toward dramatic than comedic, and made some really salient points about what it is to focus more on the future than the now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.