‘Senior Year’ (2022) Review: An Overstuffed Nostalgic High School Comedy
There is nothing more important than nurturing and valuing your friendships. But when a popular high school student slash cheer captain lands in a coma and wakes up two decades later, reclaiming their social status is more important. Alex Hardcastle’s Senior Year is a goofy high school comedy that doesn’t want to take itself seriously. With the spirit of romantic high school comedies such as Mean Girls and 13 Going to 30, Hardcastle’s feature directorial debut isn’t anything close to remarkable or pleasant. In fact, it fails to keep the audience interested in the character’s main dilemma, often leading to cringe-y moments.
After two decades, Stephanie Conway (Rebel Wilson) wakes up from a cheerleading stunt gone wrong. Before the coma, she had her entire future planned: become the prom queen, marry her high school sweetheart and spend the rest of her life in a beautiful happy suburban home (Angourie Rice plays the younger version of Stephanie). But when Stephanie wakes up as a 37-year-old with the mind of a 17-year-old, most of her adulthood is lost due to the coma. Though she could have grown out of it, she is determined to get back to high school only for one purpose: to become the reigning popular prom queen.
The biggest joke in Senior Year is that adult Stephanie, a millennial, has to mingle with teenage kids and must learn about the new makeup and social media trends. Clearly, things aren’t the way it was when she was in school, the kids are more conscious and woke and the popular kids have a large following, all of which Stephanie doesn’t have. Heck, she hasn’t even watched the rest of the eight Fast and Furious movies! When she enters into this new world, she discovers that things are run differently, and while all of these are supposed to be a comedy, none of them become an effective form of entertainment.
Despite all of this, Senior Year is filled with nostalgia. From a sequence of Stephanie and her friends dancing to Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” to a cameo of America’s sweetheart Alicia Silverstone, these are the moments that keep the film afloat. There’s no real attempt to add real humour and nothing remarkably pleasant about this plot, and as a result, it just seems like a brand of comedy that is tiresome.
There are only a handful of people that are going to enjoy the nostalgia-filled, outlandish concept of a movie. It was fun to see the early 2000s, Wilson is funny when she gets the chance to shine. However, the script is weak, most of it is consumed by the modern “wokeness” of high school kids and some of the stands are bizarre. Senior Year’s common comedy trope of “an adult person living in a teenager’s body” is somewhat tiresome compared to 13 Going on 30, which shows a remarkable presence of adults reliving their childhood memories in a more sincere way. However, this movie doesn’t have that kind of flair and gears more towards adults than the young generation.
Edited by: Raayaa Imthiyaz