"Senior Year" stars Rebel Wilson, Justin Hartley, Angourie Rice, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Mary Holland, Chris Parnell, and Alicia Silverstone. Released on Netflix on May 13, 2022, the film is about a woman who attempts to finish high school after waking up from a coma.
The film featured the directorial debut of Alex Hardcastle, who directed episodes for shows like "New Girl", "The Mindy Project", "Grace & Frankie", and "Parks and Recreation". There are plenty of things that can go wrong during your senior year. You forget to do your homework, you accidentally get yourself drunk, and you can't find a date for the prom. However, nothing can compare to missing your chance to graduate because you fell into a coma for two decades. I always knew that high school could be a dangerous place. I'm heading back into Netflix territory again today, ladies and gentlemen, and what better way to celebrate that occasion than with a comedy centering on Rebel Wilson. The film sees the actress back in the movie spotlight after taking a leave of absence for three years, and I don't blame her. After starring in four films in a single year, I, too, would take a nice long break from the movie business. If you're wondering why I'm looking at this, let's just say I needed something to distract me until the other big blockbusters come out. Plus, the concept seemed hilariously stupid enough for me to check it out. With that said, let's see if this comedy can cheer its way to the top.
The film centers on Stephanie Conway (Wilson), a teenage Australian immigrant who spends her high school years attempting to be one of the cool kids. One day, a failed cheerleading move resulted in Stephanie suffering a head injury and falling into a coma before her senior prom. Twenty years later, she wakes up to discover that she's now a woman and missed out on becoming prom queen. Stephanie then decides to re-enroll at her old high school to accomplish her dream. But unfortunately, she learns that her high school is much different than what she experienced in her teen years.
The movie is similar to "13 Going on 30", regarding a teen being in a young woman's body. However, instead of being due to a birthday wish, it was because of a coma that lasted for two decades. While the plot centers on Stephanie attempting to be prom queen, it also reflects on the changes in modern trends from a perspective of a 90s teen. One of them is based on popularity, where nowadays, people can be famous through the power of social media. Despite those changes, the film's message is still the same for everyone: the only way to be popular is by being yourself and appreciating what's right in front of you, especially the people who care about you. Additionally, it has Stephanie attempting to move forward with her life despite being stuck in the past.
Unfortunately, even with its relatable messages and commentary about popularity, the film is another generic high school teen comedy that's harmless to watch and nothing else. The premise of a teen becoming a woman due to a coma was admittedly intriguing. However, its desire to follow the usual high school genre tropes beat-by-beat prevented it from reaching beyond its popularity. There's also an issue with the film's runtime, which is an hour and 50 minutes. While the pacing was tolerable, the movie wore out its welcome by at least ten minutes, and I thought high school was longer than this.
However, it does have a couple of elements that helped me survive this senior year, with the film's heart being one of them. Sure, the dialogue can be cheesy at times, but it compensates by getting the message across without relying heavily on adult humor. There were a couple of instances of raunchy humor that you'd see in an R-rated comedy, but they were displayed for the sake of its concept. Some of its humor wasn't as special as a high school yearbook, but that doesn't make it a laugh-less chore. Admittedly, a couple of moments that made me chuckle were pretty dumb, and I understand that they may not impress everyone, but as long as I enjoy myself laughing at the stupid things, who gives a darn?
Rebel Wilson (who also produced the film) provided one of the more likable performances outside of her "Pitch Perfect" role in her portrayal of Stephanie. Even though she's not as memorable as the film itself, I still enjoy her presence in terms of her charisma. Angourie Rice also didn't do too bad as the teenage version of Stephanie. For those who don't know, Rice is mainly known for playing Betty Brant in the MCU Spider-Man trilogy. Aside from the popular superhero franchise, that's one way to make herself known: playing the young version of Rebel Wilson. Despite being victims of the film's cliched screenplay, Sam Richardson and Zoe Chao were also passable in their roles as Seth and Tiffany.
Overall, "Senior Year" has its moments regarding its heart and humor, but its grades aren't good enough for it to graduate. Despite a promising premise, the film is a bare-bones high school comedy that struggles to rejuvenate its conventional routine. Some of its jokes were funny enough for the movie to be watchable, and Rebel Wilson continues to be a bearable presence in the film industry. Sadly, its average humor, fundamental cliches, and excessive runtime kept it from hanging out with the cool kids. However, if you don't mind its flaws and just want to watch Wilson be awkwardly humorous towards modern trends, I would say it's worth watching once on Netflix.