Review: SXSW Premiere of Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” hits Theaters for End of School Fun

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

Sometimes you can see a trailer for a comedy film with teens facing the usual coming of age challenges that we have already seen in past popular films and decide to pass on seeing it. Although, it might sound slightly predictable, the four screenwriters, Susanna Fogel (“The Spy Who Dumped Me”), Emily Halpern (“Good Girls” TV series), Sarah Haskins (“The Mayor” TV series) and Katie Silberman (“Isn’t it Romantic”) and director Olivia Wilde have created a great story about female friendship with all the ups and downs, including all it takes to get to the party of the year – even when they are not invited! Judging from the crowd at the premiere at the Paramount Theater during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, this comedy will have a huge following, from current grads to those who remember those days way behind us. 

All the actors cast for this film gave excellent performances for each of the diverse characters they portray from high school today. As graduation day nears, best friends, Molly (Beanie Feldstein, “Lady Bird”) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever, “Justified,” “Last Man Standing”) are thinking about their final high school days in LA before they head out – Molly to Yale and Amy to Columbia. They unexpectedly learn that “other” students are also heading off to school as they are and contemplate their actions during the final days at school. Before crashing an event, the girls have many detours and end up at an event on a yacht hosted by Jared (Skyler Gisondo) and his richy – rich friend Gigi (Billie Lourd, “Scream Queens,” “American Horror Story”). I won’t describe much more about Gigi as she has some great scene-stealers in this fun script. Crashing this party allows Molly and Amy to do all the partying they missed earlier, but also learn so much more about the students (and adults) they thought they knew all about. This includes ending up at a murder-mystery performance hosted by the theater students and facing a situation that involves their principal (Jason Sudeikis). It is incredibly hilarious and so are the shenanigans in one wild night before Molly goes on her way to pursue being the youngest Supreme Court Justice and Amy pursues being a social activist.

Director Olivia Wilde has created a fabulous feature debut, showcasing the talent of many young, up and coming actors who we will definitely see in future productions. “Booksmart” is the perfect choice for a comedy that is entertaining and has stand out performances as well.


“Booksmart” opens in theaters May 24th nationwide.

Source: Annapurna Pictures

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