ENTERTAINMENT

Olivia Wilde’s Directorial Debut ‘Booksmart’ Is Being Hailed As A Female-Fronted ‘Superbad’

The film, which premiered at SXSW this past weekend, is already getting rave reviews.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever go looking for trouble in the trailer for "Booksmart," Olivia Wilde's directorial debut.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever go looking for trouble in the trailer for "Booksmart," Olivia Wilde's directorial debut.

If you liked “Lady Bird” or “Superbad” or “Blockers” or “Neighbors 2,” it sounds ― based on early buzz ― like you’re going to love “Booksmart.”

The coming-of-age comedy, the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, premiered at South by Southwest this weekend to rave reviews. The film centers on teens Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) as they prepare to graduate from high school.

“Nobody knows that we are fun,” Molly says in the trailer, released Monday morning. “We didn’t party, because we wanted to focus on school and get into good colleges.”

“And it worked,” Amy responds.

“But the irresponsible people who partied also got into those colleges,” Molly points out. “We haven’t done anything. We haven’t broken any rules!”

So, the pair embark on a night filled with rule-breaking, partying and “giving zero F’s,” as the film’s tagline states. (You can watch the trailer, which contains strong language, below.)

Wilde told Variety on Sunday that she wanted to make a coming-of-age film because that genre was formative for her as a teen.

“I really wanted to direct a movie for younger people to kind of be a generational anthem. I really benefited from watching those movies — everything from ‘Fast Times [at Ridgemont High]’ to ‘Clueless’ to ‘Dazed and Confused,’” she said. “They really helped us contextualize the experience of being young, being a kid, being different. And I wanted to make something like that for this generation.”

People who were at the Sunday premiere praised the film on Twitter. Some likened it to the 2007 comedy classic “Superbad,” while others applauded it for its smart portrayal of nerdy teen girls.

“Olivia Wilde directed a teen movie epic for every girl who did her homework in HS. Feeling so seen!” New York Times reporter Jada Yuan wrote.

Rotten Tomatoes critic Robert Daniels called the movie “hilarious, epic, and audacious. It’s like John Hughes+ ANIMAL HOUSE through an EIGHTH GRADE lens.”

In full-length reviews, Variety praised Dever and Feldstein’s chemistry, while IndieWire noted the movie’s “savage wit” and “zippy energy.”

Scroll down to see more reactions to “Booksmart,” which premieres nationwide May 24.

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