Rites-of­pas­sage com­edy so forth­right yet­ten­der

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -


SCHOOL’S out for the summer but life lessons about sis­terly sol­i­dar­ity and abus­ing the good na­ture of a teddy bear never end in the rau­cous rites-of-pas­sage com­edy Books­mart.

Ac­tress Olivia Wilde iden­ti­fies her­self as a high achiever with a ri­otous fea­ture film di­rec­to­rial de­but, strut­ting con­fi­dently down the same cor­ri­dors of beau­ti­fully ar­tic­u­lated teen angst as Clue­less and Mean Girls.

A soror­ity of four fe­male scriptwrit­ers cram in a dizzy­ing ar­ray of pithy and potty-mouthed one-lin­ers be­tween some deeply touch­ing mo­ments of self-re­flec­tion and re­al­i­sa­tion.

The heart­felt hi­lar­ity is de­liv­ered with gen­uine warmth and grin-in­duc­ing sin­cer­ity by the dream team dou­ble-act of Kait­lyn Dever and Beanie Feld­stein.

They have us root­ing for their sassy, self-aware mis­fits from the mo­ment they pre­pare for an­other day at school with im­promptu body-pop­ping on the side of the road.

Belly laughs are boun­ti­ful, trad­ing in pop cul­ture ref­er­ences and near-theknuckle hu­mour that never threat­ens to be­come crude or mean-spir­ited.

These girls are su­gar and spice and all things naughty but nice.

Po­ten­tially thorny is­sues of fat-sham­ing, sex­ual ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and peer pres­sure are cheer­fully nav­i­gated or sidesteppe­d to en­cour­age char­ac­ters to wear in­di­vid­u­al­ity and naivete on their sleeves, next to their hearts.

Amy (Dever) and best friend Molly (Feld­stein) have stu­diously for­saken for­ni­ca­tion and par­ty­ing in order to achieve their aca­demic dreams.

Text­books have been the girls’ stead­fast bed­time com­pan­ions and as grad­u­a­tion looms, Amy is des­tined for Columbia while Molly has been ac­cepted into Yale.

The gal pals de­spair at the tom­fool­ery of class­mates so they are gob-smacked to learn that lazy peers have also se­cured places at cov­eted Ivy League in­sti­tu­tions.

‘This isn’t pos­si­ble,’ rages Molly. ‘You guys don’t care about school.’.

It’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low: Amy and Molly have need­lessly missed out on ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar lessons in drunken bond­ing. The over-achiev­ers re­solve to make amends on the night be­fore Molly de­liv­ers her vale­dic­to­rian speech.

‘We are A+ peo­ple and we are go­ing to an A+ party.’ she de­fi­antly an­nounces.

The friends hatch a hare-brained scheme to gate­crash a party thrown by cool kid Nick (Ma­son Good­ing) in the hope that Amy can fi­nally ap­proach her crush: skate­board­ing tomboy Ryan (Vic­to­ria Ruesga).

This hap­haz­ard odyssey puts Amy and Molly on a col­li­sion course with nar­cotics, crime, an ex­plo­sion of bod­ily flu­ids and a shock­ing dis­cov­ery about their high school prin­ci­pal (Ja­son Sudeikis).

Books­mart is an un­apolo­get­i­cally forth­right and ten­der valentine to the glo­ri­ous fi­nal hours of care­free aban­don be­fore adult­hood comes a-knock­ing.

Dever and Molly are ut­terly adorable and pos­sess fizzing screen chem­istry, and co-stars are mem­o­rable for the right rea­sons, some­times in fleet­ing roles that gently sub­vert stereo­types.

It’s go­ing to take some­thing very spe­cial to usurp Wilde’s bois­ter­ous romp from re­main­ing top of the class of come­dies in 2019.

RAT­ING: 9/10

Beanie Feld­stein as Molly and Kait­lyn Dever as Amy in Books­mart.

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