A rather sobering meme made its way across social media last year, shocking all Gen Xers with the words, “It’s 2021. We are closer to 2040 than to 2000.” And now here we are in 2022, even nearer to 2040! As difficult as it may be to get our heads around, the early aughts are a bygone era. That notion is fully evident in Netflix’s new “Senior Year,” a bubbly rom-com that, while set in the present day, is riddled with wistful nods to TRL, butterfly clips and all-things 2000.
Directed by Alex Hardcastle, the film sees Harding High Class of 2002 cheer captain Stephanie Conway (Angourie Rice) fall into a coma less than a month before graduation due to a sabotaged cheerleading stunt facilitated by her arch-enemy/prom queen rival, Tiffany Blanchette (Ana Yi Puig). When an adult Stephanie (played by a delightful Rebel Wilson) finally awakens 20 years later, she does what any 17-year-old senior trapped in a 37-year-old body would! She goes back to high school to finish out her final year and belatedly win that much-coveted prom queen title and crown!
It’s a silly premise, to be sure, but thanks to a witty script, stellar performances and a kicking retro soundtrack, “Senior Year” is sweet, engrossing and endearingly nostalgic. The movie even features a rousing re-creation of Britney Spears’ 1999 “(You Drive Me) Crazy” music video, complete with hot pink neon signage and Wilson decked out in a fabulous green sparkly number, blond locks flowing.
Though the flick’s Rotten Tomatoes scores leave quite a bit to be desired, judging by Netflix’s metrics, audiences are finding “Senior Year” the “bomb diggity” as it has remained on the streamer’s Top Ten list since being released two weeks ago.
Set in the fictional town of Loganville, Maryland, the movie was filmed in its entirety in Atlanta, Georgia and its environs, with the production making spectacular use of the city’s fabulous real estate. Indeed, while Wilson (who also serves as a producer) shines in her role, “Senior Year’s” true stars are the four utterly charming residences that figure at its center!