In the grand scheme of movies set in high school, some treasures come to mind. Some of these flicks have a specific theme: the main protagonist is significantly older than the average student, but somehow makes their way into high school as an outsider, then wins the entire school over with their charm and charisma. Think Never Been Kissed, 17 Again, and to some extent, Freaky Friday. If you were a fan of the Rebel Wilson comedy Isn’t It Romantic, then you might just be in luck with her latest Senior Year.
Senior Year tells the story of an early 2000s-era high school teenager named Stephanie who, during a well-choreographed cheerleading routine, accidentally falls to the ground resulting in a coma that lasts twenty years. Disillusioned and cranky, the cheerleader (Wilson) wakes up in a hospital room completely unaware that it is now 2022. With her entire teenage years and 20s stripped away from her, Stephanie is tasked with putting together the pieces of her broken life while struggling with the fact that she is physically 37, but mentally still 17 years old.
Are you laughing yet? Don’t worry, you will.
After Stephanie comes home to a room untouched since her accident, she makes a plan to return to high school, finish her senior year, and become prom queen. As a 17 year old, her dream was to become the most popular girl in school and win the crown at prom like her idol (Alicia Silverstone) did years before. But, as an adult, the odds are stacked against her as the silly notion of returning to a now politically correct high school run by influencers and Stephanie’s old friends (Sam Richardson and Mary Holland), while battling with an old nemesis (Zoe Chao), makes life much more difficult.
What makes Senior Year so refreshing is the complete and utter respect for pop culture from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Because Stephanie only remembers right before her accident, her entire environment is governed by television and films like Clueless, Bring It On, Sex and the City, Ally McBeal and artists like Britney Spears and Madonna. A nostalgic dream for anyone who grew up in this time period (Millennials like me), Senior Year is a fun trip down memory lane of boy bands and MTV. It’s a film not to be taken too seriously. It has fun with political correctness, high school cliches, and the absurdity of Stephanie’s given situation. A great suspension of disbelief needs to be done while watching this film, but once you do it, I promise you’ll have fun.
Ticket rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2