Senior Year is not going to reinvent the whole adult-turned-teen comedy but fairs decently with some comical bits.
Senior Year (2022) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on June 2, 2022
Rating 2.5 /5
Rebel Wilson has graduated as a comedic actor for fulfilling a fairly common but easy route for comedy. Senior Year is a highly familiar formula of placing an adult in a high school setting, forcing them to live out a part of their teenage years that was denied. At least this film has the fairly plausible plot of her playing a character who has been in a coma since her teenage years and desires to resume her high school years. Well, it’s the most plausible way to force this type of scenario.
Wilson plays Stephanie Conway, an Australian-American immigrant to explain her accent for being present in American suburbia. In 2002, she was a teenager with dreams of being the most popular of girls and marrying the hunkiest of guys. Standard teenage stuff that she seems close to accomplishing. Not so standard is the coma she slips into that knocks her out for twenty years. She awakens to a much different world.
The fish-out-of-water comedy is a walk in the park for Wilson who perfectly portrays that girl who never grew up or let go of high school. She struggles to navigate the new lingo of the world and comprehend the current trends. She does, however, take easily to the concept of social media, essentially being a bigger version of the popular game from her early 2000s. Of course, she makes her social status a much higher priority than her education. It kinda makes sense considering that her future looks a little bleak with being behind on the times in more ways than one.
There’s a romantic love triangle that plays out the way most high school romances proceed, albeit this time with the teens having grown into adults. Stephanie’s biggest crush has been the cute guy Blaine (Justin Hartley). She still hasn’t given up on him even though he’s seemed to move on but with mild reservations about dating again. The one right there all along is the dorky and charming Seth (Sam Richardson). It makes total sense that Wilson and Richardson would hook up considering their expert comedic dynamic. They have a great dialogue between each other and a hilarious sequence at a movie theater where they antagonize the popular kids by faking sex during the screening.
There are some strong comedic talents assembled. Chris Parnell is certainly in his element as Stephanie’s father, trying to play up the concerned father in familiar situations he had yet to live with his daughter. Alicia Silverstone is also a solid choice in casting for the Clueless reference. Zoë Chao makes for the perfect rival for playing up the Karen mindset, literally arguing for managers.
Wilson and Richardson are a lot of fun to watch, even when they’re not playing up their relationship. I particularly loved how Richardson works as a librarian and does inventory on books, mockingly telling them how nobody will ever check them out. Wilson’s many discoveries of the era and her dance sequences to win the role of prom queen are wonderfully absurd.
Senior High is not going to reinvent the whole adult-turned-teen comedy but fairs decently with some comical bits. It’s sure to be forgettable considering the common name that will become confused with any number of high school films holding the same title. For what it aims to be, it works alright for actors giving it their best in a format that has been retreaded many times and will likely be retreaded further in the future. At least we get some funny scenes between Wilson and Richardson, further highlighting their comedic skills to make lemonade out of moldy lemons.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.