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Review: Things hidden from ‘Booksmart’

(Photo courtesy of Vulture)

The new coming-of-age movie “Booksmart’s” so-called box-office “failure” was the catalyst for its reputation as a new, seemingly irrelevant high school comedy that belongs more on Netflix than it does the big screen.

Abandoning penchants for honest and markedly funny films for flamboyant live-action remakes such as “Aladdin,” it’s easily observed how the modern world of entertainment and culture of image has shifted the value of lesser-anticipated yet still enriching movies.

Despite “Booksmart’s” apparently mediocre performance at the box-office, the film, which follows the storyline of holier-than-thou Molly and best friend Amy, provides a remarkably progressive female perspective on youth through its fresh and brazen approach to high school life.

Through audaciously wild dialogue and a forward-moving plot, the audience has the opportunity to witness the growth and realizations of these sharp protagonists under the overarching concept of diminishing youth.

Though part of its charm glows from under its R-rating and risqué punchlines, the film imparts a wise viewpoint on the irreversibility of time and the societal value placed upon college while simultaneously exploring less introspective teenage concerns, such as romance and party going.

Without breaking its roaringly funny guise, “Booksmart” communicated an interesting question on the academic patterns of teenage education: Should high schoolers have fun, and can they enjoy themselves without the expense of sacrificing their performance in school?

Yale-bound Molly and future Columbia student Amy, determined to prevent the loss of the stereotypical “dimensional” high school experience, do not answer the question but rather provide more depth to the query.

The bustling attention that is given to college admissions and the reams of paper donated to transcripts and AP tests have only an upward trajectory in coming times. With so much time and effort devoted to college-prep, “Booksmart” raises ideas on what no one willingly points out: Are our futile efforts conducted only to waste our youth at the hands of the societal pressure forced upon us by modernity?

“Booksmart” seems to venture into the topic subtly, though its main focus remains on flipping the switch on comedy movies of similar caliber. Its inventive navigation through the usual comedic tropes usually reserved for male protagonists (the film has been compared to 2007 movie “Superbad”) settles down at resolution after closing deep character arcs and striking plot-points.

Its celebratory attitude towards diversity in gender, sexuality, and demographics in conjunction with its rowdy approach at humor is a testament that it is not merely a vehicle for mindless escapism — rather, it’s smart, confident and profound.

Though it’s far from classic, “Booksmart” marks the advent of a new sub-genre of teenage comedy — one that is intuitive, sensitive and forward-facing.

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