BOOKSMART Review — Great for Millennials, Baby Boomers Beware

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Booksmart Review — You’ll probably think they nailed it or failed it, depending on your age.

Booksmart reviewBooksmart, first time director Olivia Wilde’s new coming of age comedy, will probably be viewed as this year’s Lady  Bird, and this generation’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

As with most films in this genre, I’m thinking fans and foes will be divided by generations, with the demos it was made for loving it, and the rest of us feeling a tad uncomfortable.

I definitely understand why Booksmart is resonating with many, and I also understand that there’s no way I can avoid coming off as a hopeless old fart if I’m honest about my reaction to it.

I will say that I appreciate the original twist on a trite plot line that follows the last big fling before graduation. Booksmart turns the trope on its ear by dispensing with the cliched stereotypes; of bullying, dumb jocks and witchy cheerleaders.

Instead, we have Christian parents encouraging their out daughter to spend the night with her girlfriend, we have the far from traditional beauty getting all the romantic attention, and a laid back principal encouraging Molly, the class president, to lighten up and toss discipline to the wind.

That class president, by the way, is played by lead Beanie Feldstein (sister of Jonah Hill). She’s the type of girl who never would have been elected in a John Hughes movie that adhered more closely to stereotypes. Everyone in Booksmart seems to be nerdy cool in their own way and generally accepted, which is one of those original and fabulous twists I mentioned earlier.

So what’s my beef? (Here comes the old fart part). The film just took everything a notch too far. Did they really have to drop F-bombs five times a sentence? Wasn’t the first time lesbian sex awkward enough without it ending in vomit? Did what passes for really clever names and expressions have to be so crude? Was it necessary for them to talk about bodily functions in such graphic, unflinching detail?

Although I believe my critique is generationally informed, Booksmart made me feel old in a good way. While many of my colleagues left the theater saying “This film SO nailed my high school experience!” I was relieved, and almost smug about the fact that mine was nothing like that.

Now that you’ve read this Booksmart review, you know what you’re in for. Get times and tickets at

Rated R

1 Hour 45 Minutes

Booksmart Review — You’ll probably think they nailed it or failed it, depending on your age.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.


  1. Avatar Sharon on May 23, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    You will never be an old fart! Loved your review!

  2. Miles Miles on June 7, 2019 at 11:39 am

    I prefer YOUR class, Lisa…

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