This teen coma comedy feels dated and clueless.
When you enter a coma in 2002 and wake up 20 years in the future (though I don’t know how it’s even humanly possible), you find out you neither can say the R-word (which insults people with disabilities such as myself) nor “That’s so gay” anymore. It’s obvious that they would eventually learn about flat TVs, cellphones, and that Madonna did not change her name to Lady Gaga. The made-for-Netflix comedy “Senior Year” features Rebel Wilson as a cheerleader and would-be Prom queen, who falls into a coma after a stunt gone wrong, and learns about all the topics I’ve mentioned. It’s all so flimsy and routine, especially when it wants to aim as an R-rated comedy.
Before Wilson (who lost 80 pounds) comes in, Angourie Rice plays Stephanie Conway, an Australian native, who adjusts to life in America with some nerdy friends Martha (Molly Brown) and Seth (Zaire Adams), and transcends to a popular girl with the hot boyfriend Blaine (Tyler Barnhardt) and the rival Tiffany (Ana Yi Puig). When she wakes up from the coma, Martha (Mary Holland) is the principal, Seth (Sam Richardson) is a teacher, and Blaine (Justin Hartley) and Tiffany (Zoe Chao) are both married with a kinder daughter under the popular alias Brie Loves (Jade Bender).
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for her.
Martha has cut back on the Prom king and queen election, as well as the sexist and dangerous routines of cheerleading. This is when Stephanie has to be the snotty girl who thinks she’s better than the young environmentalists, and when she decides to bring cheerleading and the Prom king and queen elections. She’s 37-years-old with a 17-year-old mind. That’s probably why she’s trying to adjust to the times.
I did smile when Stephanie finds out the Prom King & Queen trophy cabinet has been replaced by a dolphin made from “found tampons.” But the rest is just so exhausting and hurtful, as we basically always have to deal with these types of teen movies. This wouldn’t be “Clueless” if someone paid someone to say it was. And Alicia Silverstone cameos as an Uber driver.
The performances I did like come from Richardson and Holland, who both try to bring out the best of the main heroine. They’re sweet and they have personalities, merging with the humor and seriousness. In fact, they’re both the movie’s better half, but sometimes, they have to be involved with some lame jokes.
For example: it’s supposed to be funny when Stephanie’s father (Chris Parnell) warns Seth to use protective sex with his daughter and that he can’t drink and drive en route to the prom. These kids are in their early 40s and that’s always supposed to be hilarious. How exhausting, but at least it wouldn’t be the first movie gag of its kind.
What’s more exhausting is that this movie is less than two hours long, and it’s more of the same tricks and formulas we’ve seen done better or worse in many other teen movies. There still has to be the rivalry between Stephanie and Tiffany, there still has to be cringing and wincing, and there still has friendship cliches.
Wilson has proven herself to be a funny actress with the right material, as demonstrated in “Bridesmaids,” “Pitch Perfect” and “Isn’t It Romantic,” but in “Senior Year,” she barely enlists us with any sympathy for her character. It’s nice to know she lost a substantial amount of weight, but she needs to adapt herself to the comedy without trying so far. Comedies are transcending, and originality is in short supply.
Streaming on Netflix