Review: Never Goin’ Back (Montclair Film Festival)

Title: Never Goin’ Back
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Augustine Frizzell
Starring: Maia Mitchell, Camila Morrone, Kyle Mooney
Runtime: 1 hr 25 min
What It Is: Jessie (Morrone) and Angela (Mitchell), high school dropouts, are taking a week off to chill at the beach. Too bad their house got robbed, rent’s due, they’re about to get fired, and they’re broke. Basically, its about how they try to get out of their desperate situation and get to the beach.

What We Think: 2018 could be the year women can direct a female-centered raunchy comedy. Earlier this year we had Blockers directed by Kay Cannon, which one of the big surprises. It was basically the female version of Superbad or American Pie but done with fun humor and great characters to separate it from the two. Now we can add the directorial debut from Augustine Frizzell to the mix. She’s known for being the wife of writer/director David Lowery (A Ghost Story). I would describe this film as basically “Spring Breakers” meets “The Florida Project” with the humor of “Swiss Army Man”. This is by far one of the funniest films of the year and one of the most fun experiences I had at the theater. It seemed like Frizzell grew up in a neighborhood like this and just wanted to tell this story that isn’t heavy-handed. I can tell she was inspired by stoner comedies since smoking weed plays a big part with these two girls. One review called this film basically a long episode of “Shameless” which isn’t a bad thing. The two girls Jessie and Angela are probably the most fun duo I’ve seen in a comedy. They live in a low-end house, smoke weed, get into trouble and work in a waffle house diner that’s very low end. Also they have moments of poop humor that I think could make some audiences get grossed out. But for me, it worked because of the situation they’re in. Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone play these two girls like they are real-life friends. I love their chemistry and I just enjoyed spending time with them. Even Kyle Mooney who basically plays one of their housemates has a moment where I was on the floor laughing due to how perverted his character is. But the best moment of the film for me has to be where Jessie and Angela are high at work and whenever they see a certain food item a cheesy love song plays. It was the moment where I had one of the loudest laughs in the audience due to how funny it played out.

Our Grade: B+, While the film suffers from being repetitive at times, this is still just a blast to watch. Augustine Frizzell is definitely a director to look out for in terms of comedic direction. She just knows how to find the humor while living in a crappy situation. Also, I want to highlight, the song choices used in this film work perfectly. They just fit in with the type of movie it was going for. If you want something different out of your slice of life movies, this is one I would say is worth checking out.

 

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Ian Bulaclac Written by: