Two high school seniors, Amy and Molly (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein), are top of their class, know their politics and are ready for top universities and stellar careers. But on the eve of their graduation they realise they’ve missed out on years of partying and seek to redress the balance in one crazy night out.
As a coming of age story about American teenage girls, on paper Booksmart looks rather similar to Eighth Grade, but in place of a sensitive and authentic drama it’s a superficial comedy about the importance of having a good time. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, it just felt like a bit of a come down at the double bill screening we went to.
There are great performances from both Dever and Feldstein who are nerdy, funny and appealing in equal measure. And while this is a typically idealised American movie high school, their fellow students are mostly likable too, making this far more watchable than the obnoxious Pitch Perfect while also attaining an admirable level of diversity which eluded that film.
It’s just a shame the script doesn’t match the talents of the cast, falling well short of the level of comedy it needs to make it work. It also feels dramatically unfulfilling with a forced falling out between the two in an attempt to give it some kind of meaning. Combined with an unnecessarily long running time, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Booksmart‘s script isn’t as smart as its characters.