Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jake Short, Miles J. Harvey, Damon Wayans Jr., Madison Davenport, Odessa A'zion, Iliza Shlesinger, Kira Kosarin, Madison Bailey, Will Meyers, Jonathan Kite, Greg Cromer, Luis Fernandez-Gil, Peter Moses, Peter Holden, Jean Villepique, Joshua Cranston, Ankur Bhatt
Written by: Olli Haikka, Ali Moussavi, based on a story by Patricia Goren, Eric Goren
Directed by: Teppo Airaksinen
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 92
Date: 02/11/2022

Supercool (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Dish Wish

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A teen comedy that involves lovable, hapless nerds employing fantasy elements to win the hearts of dream girls, Supercool feels transplanted from the early 1980s and suffers from creaky, clueless jokes.

Best friends Neil (Jake Short), a shy comic-book artist, and Gilbert (Miles J. Harvey), a fast-talker, are high school seniors, hopelessly uncool (they play dancing video games together) but with big dreams. Neil has a lifelong crush on Summer (Madison Davenport), but has never spoken to her. When he tries, he vomits on her. Gilbert encourages Neil to make a wish at 11:11, and he does, hoping to be "cool."

He wakes up the next morning looking like a supermodel, and begins going by "Ace" (after Ace Ventura). He wins an invitation to Summer's birthday party that evening, but first there comes a series of misadventures as they attempt to secure a Porsche to make their appearance, cross paths with an exhibitionist drug dealer, an all-male party, and other weird characters. Can Neil finally win his dream girl?

While it may resemble American Pie, Superbad, and Booksmart, its true blueprint comes from things like Zapped! and Weird Science, where the characters are just as interested in sex and partying as they are in romance, and while the journey of Supercool ends in the right place — the hero realizes that his dream girl is an actual person — the route it takes is threadbare and embarrassing. The fantasy element, the 11:11 wish, fails to make much sense and never really works.

The movie gets points for its unique friendship between Neil and Gilbert, interracial buddies with no qualms about their love for one another. But other characters of color border on offensive stereotypes; one, an Indian who runs a convenience store, sparks dialogue about whether the situation is "racist," but the filmmakers still don't seem to understand the nuances.

Truthfully, even though it's hard to hate our two protagonists, the movie simply falters in the laughs department, falling back on dumb jokes about sex and drugs, as well as its jabs at cultural differences. The films that become classics of the genre, like the aforementioned trio, find the humanity in these situations. Supercool is merely a carbon copy of the actual cool stuff that came before.

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