I am suddenly feeling a strong sense of deja vu about new movies as we head into the dog days of August. In the shadow of the sixth Mission: Impossible, this week’s openings include The Darkest Minds, which is basically a retread of every dystopian YA teen epic of the past few years; and then you try hard not to confuse Disney’s Christopher Robin with last Fall’s Goodbye Christopher Robin. As for the new A24 BFF Girls raunchfest Never Goin’ Back, it could easily be a sequel of sorts to A24’s similar Spring Breakers, so let’s just call it Summer Breakers.
Nevertheless, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), the latter film is raunchy as hell, and surprisingly watchable for what is basically a throw-away confection that aims to be not much more than a low down good time at the movies. On that promise, it delivers. There are a lot of dumb people in it , but smartly, this is a film that knows exactly what to do with them.
First seen at Sundance, the plot (wait, is there one?) revolves around best friends and high school dropouts Jessie (Camila Morrone) and Angela (Maia Mitchell), who work dead end jobs as waitresses in a dead end Texas town, and are thinking only far enough ahead to work extra shifts to get enough money for a beach vacation in Galveston, a celebration of Jessie’s 17th birthday. Of course, it doesn’t all go so smoothly, as the pair have to deal with stuff, including living with Jessie’s dead end bro, Dustin (Joel Allen), a druggie with pals to match, as well as loopy friend Brandon (SNL’s Kyle Mooney), who would like to get into their pants, doesn’t matter which one.
They use him to get some money from a not-well-thought out robbery scheme at the place he works. That is just one of the funny detours this breezy, 85-minute flick provides. There are others, including jail time and showing up high to work (their boss seems to find them harmless enough). These two are tight as friends can be, seemingly in every freewheelin’ way, and hey, it’s fun to watch them do their thing. Nothing more, nothing less. Both Morrone and Mitchell give it all they got and convince us they are blessedly brainless, but kinda sweet in their own way.
Among the others in the cast, Mooney predictably is the scene stealer and gets the lion’s share of laughs. Director/Writer Augustine Frizzell has a knack for this brand of back roads dopiness, and clearly uses Spring Breakers as a blueprint in how to pull it all off in smart ways. If she didn’t, she should have. This is one of those movies that gives new talent a nice break and good stuff for their reels, and I have a feeling we will likely hear from all of them again. Liz Cardenas, Toby Halbrook, David Lowery and James M. Johnston are producers. A24 sends it out in limited release today.
Do you plan to see Never Goin’ Back? Let us know what you think.