Home Movies ‘Moxie’ review: Amy Poehler’s comedy hits and misses

‘Moxie’ review: Amy Poehler’s comedy hits and misses

9 min read

The retro-titled “Moxie,” primarily based on the 2017 novel by Jennifer Mathieu, is a likable, well-performed and admirably inclusive, if not terribly deep, comedy about teen feminism. The movie, directed by Amy Poehler from a script by Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer, ought to ring a bell with younger girls conscious — or turning into conscious — that they’re rising up in a system nonetheless flagrantly rigged in opposition to them greater than 50 years after their grandmas started burning their bras.

Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is an earnest, hard-working highschool junior dwelling together with her divorced mother, Lisa (Poehler), and joined on the hip with Claudia (Lauren Tsai), her bookish longtime BFF. However a sequence of unsettling occasions — a scholar ballot that ranks Vivian “most obedient,” a baffling school essay query, and the arrival of provocative new classmate Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) — conjures up the 16-year-old to imitate her mom’s riot-grrrl previous and buck the varsity’s sexist establishment. Her transfer: She secretly publishes a feminist zine dubbed “Moxie” and unleashes a campus revolt.

For max enjoyment, it’s maybe finest to easily settle for that Vivian’s do-it-yourself publication (we don’t get to see a lot of what’s inside) is so spot-on in its criticism of college bias and so broadly embraced by the feminine college students that it has the energy to incite a motion, additionally referred to as Moxie. Similar goes for the notion that Vivian can conceal her authorship for so long as she does.

It is also requested why the idea of sexism is abruptly such an eye-opener to the Moxie crew when that annual scholar ballot, which comprises such undignified classes as “Greatest Rack” and “Most Bangable,” ought to have sparked severe blowback ages in the past?

Nonetheless, it’s gratifying and heartening to see the movie’s array of more and more enlightened teen ladies — together with athlete Kiera (Sydney Park); her forthright pal, Amaya (Anjelika Washington); transgender CJ (Josie Totah) and others — band collectively for the frequent objectives of equity, gender and racial equality, and sisterhood. A one-sided gown code will get an applicable dressing down as nicely.

The story additionally helpfully touches upon such associated subjects as white privilege, unconscious bias, ingrained misogyny and the toxicity of silence. A scene through which the introverted Claudia — who’s been gradual to leap on the Moxie bandwagon (inflicting a predictable rift with Vivian) — explains the worth of schooling in her Asian tradition and the sacrifices her immigrant mom has endured makes one of many movie’s higher statements.

As well as, the film neatly options Emily Hopper as Meg, a scholar who makes use of a wheelchair and shows an amusing take-no-prisoners angle towards her oblivious classmates.

Vivian and her Moxie mates’ energetic journey to realize full student-body and administrative acceptance of their very important ambitions might not pan out in probably the most sweeping or boldest methods, however progress — private, social and societal — is unquestionably made.

But for all its vitality and attraction, this overlong movie comprises its share of undermining missteps. Topping the checklist are the weak portrayals of the story’s few adults, most notably Rockford Excessive’s Principal Shelly (a misused Marcia Homosexual Harden), who’s so clueless and absurdly dismissive she makes Eve Arden’s Principal McGee from “Grease” seem like Gloria Steinem.

Ike Barinholtz is one-note as a imprecise English instructor, and Poehler skims the floor of Vivian’s laid-back mother.

Additionally troubling is the varsity’s good-looking, super-popular jock, Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), a first-class jerk who will get away with — and even rewarded for — his nasty, unabashedly chauvinistic habits. Guys like him actually abound, however Mitchell is such a one-dimensional trope, we study little from his existence. When the tables lastly activate him as a consequence of a grave revelation that feels painfully under-explored, there’s no catharsis, only a test off a listing.

On the upside, Robinson proves a breath of contemporary air as she goes from self-effacing to self-empowered with naturalistic coronary heart, verve and, sure, moxie. The opposite younger actors, notably Tsai, Pascual-Peña and Nico Hiraga as a dreamy skateboarder who steals Vivian’s coronary heart, are additionally participating abilities.

Such Bikini Kill throwback tracks as “Insurgent Woman” and “Double Dare Ya” have their day once more right here, plus there’s a enjoyable on-screen efficiency by the L.A. teen/pre-teen all-girl punk rock band the Linda Lindas.


Rated: PG-13, for thematic parts, sturdy language and sexual materials, and a few teen ingesting

Working time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Enjoying: Accessible March 3 on Netflix

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