Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (8)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (4)
| Rotten (4)
Before it was even over, I was already forgetting about it.
Amiable but underwhelming.
Frequently fun and generally harmless, "The Outcasts" doesn't bring anything new to the teen comedy, but that's the nice thing about the sub-genre for its viewers.
Perfunctory, ponderous and peopled with the oldest high schoolers since "Twilight."
There's something comforting about watching teens talk about friendship and dating and college applications, subjects that actually make The Outcasts an outcast among current teen films.
This innocuous, mildly amusing wish-fulfillment fantasy comes right off the assembly line of this unfortunate subgenre, destined to bore even the least discriminating teens with its aggressive barrage of clichés and stereotypes.
Smart girls vs. mean girls comedy has swearing, drinking.
Performed with a lot of brio and filmed with humor and sensitivity to all involved, it is fun to watch and worth discussing afterward.
It seems as if the universe is conspiring against me as this is only the second movie I've seen (in its entirety) all week. I was without electricity for Saturday night and most of Sunday (it came back at 9 pm). On Monday I started watching the Out-of-Towners remake and I didn't finish watching it because I was just really tired. On Tuesday I was actually able to make it through Naked, a Netflix original movie. But on Wednesday, midway through Enter the Warrior's Gate, my WiFi got fucked up and I couldn't finish watching the flick. I was without WiFi until earlier today when it came back around 5 pm. I didn't know what I was gonna do with my life without WiFi, but I made it through without dying or going on a large crime spree, much to my loyal readers' happiness. I'm hopeful I'll be able to finish Out-of-Towners and Enter the Warrior's Gate at some point tomorrow. This is why this review is being written less than an hour after I finished this movie. I don't wanna have to write three reviews in quick succession tomorrow, that'll just take me fucking forever. When I normally do write a review so quickly after finishing the movie it's either because the movie was amazing or it was downright dreadful. This is neither of those, I think it falls squarely in the middle. I will say that this movie certainly has good intentions. It wants to be a, somewhat, clever teen movie ala Mean Girls. It was to satire the high school experience while also adding a bit of wish fulfillment with the varying groups (from the techies, to the sci-fi and fantasy geeks) coming together to take over the school from the popular kids, who use their "power" to torment other students they don't consider to be on their level. The concept, while not necessarily exciting or fresh, is set up to provide a relatively interesting diversion. Comparing this to Mean Girls (one of the great teen comedies of the 00s) is not a good look for this film, but that's obviously what they were inspired by. Tina Fey (who wrote and acted in Mean Girls) is used as a running joke here. It's not like they're pretending. The point I'm trying to make, however, is that Mean Girls actually had well-written characters and, not to mention, some really damn good comedy. It was a perfect mix, it had enough character development that it didn't feel like you were just watching something that you'd forget in a week. It was a movie that poked fun at the cliques and some people's desire to be a part of all that fakery. This movie, while having some of that, is completely undone by completely predictable and painfully one-dimensional characters. Jodi and Mindy are the only two characters that seem to have any sort of 'character development' and arc. But, even then, Jodi is the cynical virgin and Mindy is an MIT nerd. That's about it. And their arc consists of Jodi meeting a boy which leads to her not doing as much shit with Mindy. The rest of the characters are stereotypes. There's the techie, the fantasy nerd, the sci-fi nerd, the girl scout, the "angry" one and, naturally, the mean girl and her group of minions. One of the big problems I have with this movie is how the outcasts take over, almost, immediately without really showing you how they actually did anything. They show some scenes, but it all feels so unbelievable. The outcasts took over the school and made themselves the dominant clique in, what seemed, to be less than a week. And that's just now how things happen. Maybe it's over a period of month, but the movie never does a good job of showing you that. But let's say you buy into that and you're into the whole concept of the outcasts, the ostracized, running the school. Even with that, I don't think the movie goes as far as it could with its concept. They do the whole predictable power corrupts all angle with Mindy doing exactly the same shit the popular kids did to them to humiliate them. That's not exactly mind-blowing stuff, but it is what it is. While I'd say that this was an average movie, I never really thought this was all that funny. Its tone is light enough, and that made things easier to watch, but it was never a movie that made me laugh out loud. It gave me a few chuckles, at the most. Another thing I gotta say I didn't like was how forceful some of the characters were. What I mean by that is how hard they tried at making these characters zany or quirky and, honestly, it got to be a little annoying at times. Like Mindy's quirks got to be a little annoying at times. Eden Sher is a good actress and she's certainly likable, but some of her character's traits just annoyed me and it felt like the movie was just forcing their hand to give the character of Mindy a personality instead of letting things come naturally. It's like that for everybody, really, even the supporting characters. They were just zany and crazy for the sake of it, not because it came naturally to them or it fit the narrative. They had a list of stereotypes they wanted to tick off and they certainly did that here. The best parts of the film center around Mindy and Jodi trying to salvage their friendship and not wanting to drift apart like so many people do after high school. It helps that Victoria Justice and Eden Sher have some good chemistry. I will be honest, though, the whole thing with the outcasts taking over the school feels more like a backdrop for Jodi and Mindy's issues. In the long run, it's not like taking over the school really served any sort of purpose as, I'm sure, you could have told this very same story without that and it might have been even better.. That's neither here nor there, I guess. I don't think I have anything else to say about this, really. This tries to be Mean Girls without any of the wit or a truly strong script. It's not bad, or anything of the sort, I just think it relies on cliches and one-dimensional characters too much without really trying to expand on them for it, truly, to be a movie that stands above the rest in a crowded teen comedy genre. Decent movie, but the results just aren't there to make this something I'd recommend.
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