Rebel Wilson stars in the Netflix comedy "Senior Year."

Rebel Wilson stars in the Netflix comedy "Senior Year." Credit: Netflix/Boris Martin

THE MOVIE "Senior Year"

WHERE Streaming on Netflix

WHAT IT'S ABOUT "Senior Year" tells the story of Stephanie Conway, a teenager circa 2002 who wants nothing more than to be the most popular girl in her suburban high school with what she considers the most perfect life.

Stephanie's well on her way toward achieving exactly that as this Netflix movie opens — she's the cheerleading captain, with the ideal boyfriend, while being the front-runner for prom queen — until an accident during a routine leaves her in a coma for 20 years.

She awakens in 2022 to a very different world.

Teenage Stephanie is played by Angourie Rice ("Spider-Man: No Way Home"). In her 30s, she's transformed into Rebel Wilson.

Meanwhile, her best pals, Martha (Mary Holland) and Seth (Sam Richardson), have become the principal and librarian at her old high school. Dad (Chris Parnell) has gone from working at Blockbuster to Best Buy.

And popularity is now determined by Instagram follows.

The latest high-concept comedy seeking a fragment of the overwhelmed streaming audience follows the adult Stephanie as she returns to school to finish her senior year.

MY SAY It's hard to imagine a more unpleasant movie than "Senior Year."

There's nothing interesting about the premise, which finds Stephanie waking up, requiring no rehab or adjustment after her epic ordeal, and immediately launching back into her old self, as if she'd simply taken a 20-year nap. It's a miraculous recovery treated as bad sitcom fodder.

There's no reason to care about this character. She's selfish and conceited, treating her friends horribly. She has backward values and priorities, immediately making the 2022 version of her school into a worse place by advocating for the reinstatement of archaic cliques and traditions.

The movie repeats the same joke over and over, for just under two hours: this avatar of all the things that made 2002 high school terrible meets politically correct 2022 and simply doesn't get it. 

Throwaway bits like Stephanie confusing Lady Gaga for Madonna and dialogue like "phones are the new Tamagotchis" have the feeling of being written by a computer programmed to churn out the most obvious and tired laugh lines imaginable.

The ensemble is filled with talented people who seem to be suffering through the insipidness of it all. At just the right moment, it almost seems as if Parnell is literally grimacing.

The actors shouldn't worry, though. Netflix might be losing subscribers, but the checks surely clear.

Speaking of the streaming service and those subscribers: a character in the movie at one point worries that there will be a Netflix documentary made about her, to which Wilson's Stephanie gives a shoutout to "Tiger King." It all feels so desperate.

If you've got to stoop to these depths to hawk your products, if you're going to churn out movies like "Senior Year" that exist only to meet the needs of a predetermined audience quadrant, you might want to head back to the drawing board.

BOTTOM LINE Think of just about anything you might spend a couple hours doing and it's probably more worthwhile than "Senior Year."

Top Stories


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months