Netflix has a brand new #1 movie, but it’s getting a critical reception that’s definitely more fishy than fresh. This is a far cry from the streamer’s first high-profile dud of 2022, this Rebel Wilson vehicle joins The Bubble and 365 Days: This Day as Netflix movies to hit the most watchlists despite being critically mistreated.
The film is called Senior Year and Wilson plays Stephanie Conway, a high school student who falls into a coma in 2002 after a prank gone haywire. Two decades later, now at the age of 37, Stephanie wakes up and returns to school to get her diploma. But while slang and cliques have changed, Stephanie most certainly hasn’t. The comedy film hit Netflix on May 13 and went straight to #1 in both the US and UK, edging out true-crime documentary Our Father.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news for Netflix and the creative team behind Senior Year, as the film has been toasted by critics. Overall review site Rotten Tomatoe currently rates the film at 29%, which isn’t the worst score we’ve seen for a Netflix film this year – 365 Days: This Day managed a rare 0% – but it’s still pretty terrible. With scores this low, it’s unlikely that Senior Year will appear in many top Netflix movie summaries in the near future.
Critics have not held back with their verdict either. Newsday’s Verne Gay said, “It’s hard to imagine a more uncomfortable film than Senior Year,” and Decider’s John Serba drew a scathing comparison to 2010’s teen comedy Easy A, saying the Netflix film was “more like Easy D-“.
Negative reviews also came from the New York Times and the Chicago Sun-Times, the latter not exactly enthusiastic about the decision to include several over-the-top dance numbers. A handful of critics were slightly more positive, with Los Angeles Times’ Noel Murray saying, “Senior Year isn’t an ambitious film, but it’s mostly a cute and often funny film.”
Netflix subscribers are more impressed with Senior Year
While “Senior Year” definitely received an under-rating from critics, Netflix subscribers seem to be a little more impressed with the film. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film’s 61 percent viewership stands in stark contrast to its lousy critical rating. Viewers are generally more generous when it comes to rating films, but this is still a sizeable disparity.
Go to social media and you can find a lot of warm sentiments for senior year as well. On Twitter, the film has garnered positive comparisons to millennial comedies like American Pie, and a scene in which Wilson’s character recreates Britney Spears’ iconic “You Drive Me (Crazy)” music video received notable praise.
Senior year on Netflix is so good that I miss it when movies like this were made in the early 00s 😭May 13, 2022
Not for the first time this year, Netflix has a #1 movie that resonates with audiences much more than it does with critics. This will certainly not be a big problem for the streamer; His main concern is giving subscribers reasons to stay rather than winning critical awards. Granted, content that creates both is the ultimate goal.
Right now, Netflix needs all the well-received content it can get. Netflix has endured a difficult few months after seeing its subscriber base drop for the first time in a decade and confirming that the streamer plans to implement an ad-supported layer alongside a crackdown on password sharing. At the very least, the upcoming release of Stranger Things Season 4 should calm the choppy waters, at least for a while.