Netflix’s new original comedy film, Senior Year With Rebel Wilson, is being panned by critics around the world, and yet, once again, I disagree with the general consensus.
Warning: Minor spoilers for Senior Year on Netflix
The story begins with 17-year-old Stephanie Conway (played by Spider-Man’s Angourie Rice), an Australian immigrant who dreams of becoming prom queen, only to miss the opportunity when a cheerleading incident goes awry. This leads to a 20-year coma in which the now 37-year-old woman (Wilson) is determined to graduate high school and reclaim the title she should be entitled to.
Is it something that gets nominated for an Oscar? Probably not. Is it easy to watch and lots of fun at the same time? Absolutely. It’s also great to see Rebel Wilson back in a leading comedic role after a two-year hiatus from the big screen. A big reason I liked Senior Year is because of the actress and that also depends on your preferences. Senior Year plays more to Wilson’s strengths with physical comedy and wacky one-liners, something that worked brilliantly in the Pitch Perfect series and not so much in movies like The Hustle.
For this reason, it is surprising that Senior Year achieved a score of 27% Rotten tomatoes, meaning 73% of reviews were less than positive. I get that comedy is subjective, but that seems pretty harsh. It’s very grown up and feels good and clearly takes inspiration from the likes of Easy A, Mean Girls and more on the nose than Clueless. If you like this kind of teen movies, you will like Senior Year.
There are some great fantasy moments, like Stephanie arriving at high school for the first time in 20 years and believing she’s still as cool and popular as she was when she left, all while glamorous close-ups and pop music run in the background. Then comes what really happens, with a deluded Stephanie dancing deep in her own daydream in the school entrance. There are plenty of those little funny moments scattered throughout, including an unexpected Britney Spears music video tribute that I don’t want to ruin.
It was also a hit with Netflix subscribers, having amassed 55.94 million hours of viewing in the first five days of its debut, earning it “number one on the English film list”. This has also helped Netflix stay in the top 10 Netflix rankings in 93 countries, beating out the competition from hot new documentary Our Father, and we all know how popular Netflix documentaries are. The platform was essentially built on them and stranger things.
It’s not the first time I’ve disagreed with critics when it comes to comedy. Judd Apatows the bubble Earlier this year I also got bad reviews and I thought it was well worth watching, although I would say Senior Year is better. Perhaps the last 30 minutes could have been cut (I long miss the days of 90-minute comedy), but it’s still a very entertaining, fun film that’s sane from start to finish. This can’t be a bad thing.
Senior Year stars Rebel Wilson, Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Mary Holland, Angourie Rice, Justin Hartley, Chris Parnell, Michael Cimino and Brandon Scott Jones. It is now available to stream on Netflix.