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A high-school movie directed by Amy Poehler, the SNL comedy blackbelt who starred in Parks and Recreation? And who is incidentally the longtime performing partner of Tina Fey, who created the high-school classic Mean Girls? Is this going to be hilarious, or what?
Sadly no. Solemnly based on a novel by YA author Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie could be called Nice Girls or Mutually Supportive Girls. Poehler herself has a small role as the single mom of a smart, lonely teenage girl called Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who is best friends with Claudia (Lauren Tsai), but whose intimacy with her is about to be damaged by her admiration for supercool new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), and her growing romantic situation with the impeccably right-on and pro-feminist supportive guy Seth (Nico Hiraga). Enraged by the boorish, sexist behaviour of the obnoxious football star Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), and the way he is indulged by the school, Vivian gets inspired by her mom’s long-since forgotten protest persona, and she starts a zine called Moxie and triggers a feminist revolution at the school which challenges her friendships and her sense of herself.
The film is intensely, almost radically humourless, which is hard to ignore and in fact hard to bear, because of this film’s obvious resemblance to recent great movies like Booksmart or Lady Bird and particularly at times the hard-edged classic Election. In fact, Moxie feels like someone has put those films through a machine for extracting the comedy and the political satire. The movie tackles diversity, bullying and rape, but does it all very glibly. The target audience will surely be aware of the canon of superior, funny movies – and they will be baffled to see that Poehler doesn’t want to do something similar.
Source: The Guardian
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