Review: 'Senior Year' a Light and Fluffy Millennial Comedy

by Padraic Maroney

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday May 13, 2022

'Senior Year'
'Senior Year'  (Source:Netflix)

From "She's All That" to "10 Things I Hate About You," the high school romantic comedy has offered many classic films centered on fish-out-of-water situations. A fun new twist can be added thanks to Netflix's new offering, "Senior Year," which sees a grown Rebel Wilson attempting to return to high school as a grown woman.

After waking up from a 20-year coma, Stephanie (Rebel Wilson) is a teenager trapped in a 30-something woman's body. Unsure what she wants to do with her life now, the driven Stephanie decides to finish her vision board goals from high school. That also means re-enrolling in high school and re-claiming her throne, despite how much has changed while she was sleeping.

"Senior Year" feels like a timeless romantic comedy. Had it been released a decade ago, Drew Barrymore would have fit perfectly in the lead role, especially since feels like a spiritual sibling to "Never Been Kissed." Wilson, who is also a producer on the project, inherits the role and runs with it, taking a more subdue approach than in some of her previous roles. It helps that she is surrounded by a winning supporting cast that includes Justin Hartley, Mary Holland, Sam Richardson (who, along with his "The Afterparty" co-star Zoe Chao, is again hilariously returning to high school), and a younger cast of up-and-comers to watch out for in the future.

Many of the laughs early in the film come from Stephanie's confusion over how the world has changed, but the film wisely pivots away from the low-hanging fruit to instead shine a light on and satirize some of the weirdest parts of both time periods. The film's writers, however, blur some of the pop culture references for Stephanie teenaged years. Despite being 2002, the film recreates — albeit in one of the film's best scenes — Britney Spears' "Crazy" video instead of something that would have been released closer to the timeframe that Stephanie fell into the coma, like Spears' iconic "Oops, I Did it Again" video. Similarly, she has a "Clueless" poster on her wall, although that ties into a cameo from its star Alicia Silverstone.

The best part of "Senior Year" is that it will appeal to the younger audience as well as their parents, thanks to the jokes about both viewers' eras. Though not heavy with after school special type of sentiments, there are plenty of tender moments between the characters where they grow and learn from their actions.

A winning cast and endearing script makes "Senior Year" a reason for you to revisit high school again!

"Senior Year" is streaming on Netflix beginning May 13, 2022.