Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Movie Review: Do Revenge

Few films have flaunted their pop culture bona fides as well as “Do Revenge.” From its intentionally ironic grammatically incorrect title to its perfectly curated 90s-to-today soundtrack, it’s the natural evolution of the popular girl clique takedown films we all know and love. It wants to be the successor to “Heathers” and “Mean Girls” and in many ways it succeeds.

Its successes include creating a more multicultural world of privilege and backstabbing, that makes queers the main characters instead of just sassy supporting cast. It also lands some primo guest starring roles from the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sophie Turner.

Maya Hawke also cements her status as the lesbian internet’s current No. 1 crush (see: above), after giving lesbians a reason to stick with “Stranger Things” the last two seasons. While I don’t have any previous feelings associated with Camila Mendes because I’m like the last gay in the village to not watch “Riverdale,” she’s also quite good here. They both are. And their scenes together remain the movie’s best, most fun and most meaningful.

Still, despite some excellent dialogue (coining “Glennergy” and “Revenge Mommy,” in particular”) and a keen understanding of the evolution of social mores (like the inevitable makeover montage starting with its intended target calling it “so problematic” yet still getting one and the insufferability of the movie’s villain being celebrated for starting the “Cis Hetero Men Championing Female-Identifying Students League”), “Do Revenge” lacks the killer instinct when needed.

But, perhaps its most fatal flaw is its pacing. It’s just too long — by about half an hour. The extra time means the movie luxuriates when it should stay razor sharp, and fizzles slowly toward the end like a forgotten glass of champagne.

When the inevitable “twist” happens (this is a teen comedy loosely fashioned after “Strangers On a Train” after all), it’s not delivered with enough meaningful thrust to make it more than sting. The film also tries too hard to shoehorn side romances in for its two leads. But the lack of chemistry is palpable for either the hetero and homo high school hookups to matter much. (I mean, the couples all receive their happy endings in the literal credits, so that’s about much thought as you should give these relationships, too.)

Instead “Do Revenge” would have been a better, more biting film if it leaned into both its inner mean girl and outer weirdo. Like, it could use a lot more of emotional-support bearded lizard Oscar Winner Olivia Colman. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fun movie. But whether it’ll be a memorable movie that gets emulated in 20-30 years by new directors hoping to reinvent the teen-girl drama as broader cultural commentary wheel? Time will tell.

p.s. If “Do Revenge” makes SMG the lust object (respectfully! respectfully!!) that she rightfully should be among teenage lesbians I take it all back and this movie is a masterpiece to stand the test of time.


Anonymous said...

Always love your words but there seem to be a couple double ones in the first paragraph.

Panty Buns said...

I have already watched 'Do Revenge' starring Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes three times,
and will undoubtedly watch it many, many more times!
I love that the cast has multiple lesbian characters, girl-girl kisses (I wish there were even more than there are),
more female than male characters, and that it primarily stars women talking with women about women!
Even though the main antagonist is a slimy guy, his sister is a lesbian :D ?
I do love that Sarah Michelle Gellar is cast as the Principal of the school!
All of the female characters rock.
"Do Revenge" is a nice break from all the typical 'macho' male-worshipping movies produce for studios
that have board rooms composed primarily of men.
I also like the trailer:
Do Revenge | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube
P,S,: I will probably watch "Do Revenge" again after I log out of Blogger (I'm a night bird). xx :D

Anonymous said...

I liked Do Revenge… it came along at a time when I just needed a fun movie! Reminiscent of my youth movies, identifying with both lead and supporting queer women - shy and humorous. Nothing like saying “wish I could have been out in high school”. Needed to see ‘the youth’ will be okay :) Liked the diversity, representation!! Yes it hit some trop notes but accentuated with the twists, I was genuinely surprised I didn't see coming. The makeover scene was the only minor issue, but well played out later. Glad there were positive and humorous ending. Not sure if many recognized how many different movies were actually played upon… there was one scene that was very Kill Bill (Maya’s mom Umma) cinematographic.
Thanks Ms Dorothy for always writing posts of pop culture and ‘life’ culture ;) Appreciated!! - SG
(don’t have or need any social media so gotta post anon on google)