Written By Darren
Rating 9 out of 10
Senior Year is the ultimate throwback to teen comedies of the 90s and early 00s that is laugh out loud funny thanks to the hilarious Rebel Wilson, which is guaranteed to leave a massive smile on your face!
I will not lie, I saw the trailer for this Netflix film and assumed the worst. It didn’t look all that great, and I only gave it a chance because I think Rebel Wilson is hilarious, even when she finds herself in a film not worthy of her talents. But I am ecstatic to report that I completely missed the mark with my predictions for this film, and that Senior Year is one of the greatest surprises in cinema for 2022 to date!
The film follows Wilson’s Stephanie whose cheerleading stunt in her senior year goes horribly wrong, leaving her in a coma for twenty years. But when she wakes up as a 37 year old woman, Stephanie wants nothing more than to live out her high school dream and returns to school to complete her education and finally attend prom. From there, we see competition for prom queen, Stephanie facing off against her high school nemesis who has gone on to marry her high school sweetheart, and trying to find herself in the modern age while she is still in love with the late 90s and early 00s. The film is a pure rush of nostalgia from the second it begins, and being a 90s child I was immediately hooked. The style of story and humour deployed throughout the film is a throwback to classic teen comedies such as Clueless and Mean Girls, while also poking fun at millennials and their politically correctness and dependency on social media. It’s a wonderful mix of humour, with the typical gags that populate comedies in this genre. I understand why critics are not a huge fan of this film, it’s pure fluff and genuine fun from start to finish, but I don’t understand why they’ve disliked it so much. Because I have just found one of my new go to feel good movies as I had an absolute blast with this film.
Without a doubt Rebel Wilson is the cause of this, who is absolutely wonderful in the lead role of Stephanie. Wilson is known for her comedic talents from films like Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids and Isn’t It Romantic, but this may be her best comedic performance to date. She revels in the fun of being Stephanie, having a great time with the R rating and delivering some truly crass but hilarious one liners. But it’s how she approaches the fish out of water plot line as Stephanie learns what truly is important in life while adapting to 2022, and discovering that it may not be the perfect image she had for herself when she was 17. Filling every moment with the perfect amount of heart, Wilson works her way into your heart and takes you on this journey with her.
However, Wilson is not alone as the film has an incredibly talented supporting cast. Sam Richardson and Mary Holland star as Stephanie’s best friends Seth and Martha. Holland is delightful, and Richardson is the perfect comedic pairing with Wilson. He is a comedic match made in heaven with Wilson, especially the scene where they pull a prank on Stephanie's nemesis at the movies, where they find that same crude style of humour and play off each other perfectly. It’s beyond the comedic timing though, as Wilson and Richardson develop great romantic chemistry as the story progresses. Justin Hartley is perfectly cast as the grown up version of Stephanie’s heartthrob high school sweetheart Blaine. His role may be small, but when you need to cast an incredibly handsome actor that is required to be slightly inappropriate, there is no one better than Hartley (though I may be biased as I am a diehard This Is Us fan). Though, it is Zoe Chao who is the perfect costar for Wilson as Tiffany, Stephanie’s high school nemesis. Chao is wound tight as the stay at home mom living vicariously through her teenage daughter while trying to once again ruin Stephanie’s high school experience. She finds the perfect amount of energy for this role, goes toe to toe with Wilson, and is just an absolute delight from start to finish in the most villainous way.
The young cast members playing the high school students are all a lot of fun, each having their own laugh out loud moment, while adding tons of personality to their characters so they don’t become a stereotypical high school student. And the casting of that Clueless star is the perfect decision for the character as it helps tie off Stephanie’s journey over the film while being a great nod to the comedies that inspired this film. The atmosphere of the film feels like you’ve stepped into a time machine. The costumes for Wilson are pure early 2000s, full of colour and are a ton of fun. Stephanie’s room is full of throwbacks such as musician posters, vision boards and CDs galore, which you just don’t see nowadays. But it’s the film’s soundtrack that rocks this film from start to finish. Bringing back classic hits that everyone should know. Whether it be Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” blasting as Stephanie walks down the hallway of her high school, inappropriate cheerleader dance routines set to a mashup of “Hot in Here” and Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”, the film opening to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi”, or ending the film with B*Witched’s “C’est La Vie”, it’s been ages since audiences have been treated to a soundtrack that slaps this hard! Plus, they fully recreate Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” and I adored that entire sequence! Plus, the film ends on a big dance number for the entire cast to close off each character’s personal growth, and I had the biggest smile on my face as there was no better way to end this film. I’m still in shock at how much I enjoyed Senior Year, and it’s easily going to be one of those films that I enjoy over and over again because it is so much fun! From the second the film starts, Senior Year is laugh out loud funny with a ton of heart thanks to a winning lead performance from Rebel Wilson, a terrific supporting cast, and a terrific early 2000s soundtrack that is guaranteed to leave a massive smile on your face!