This combination of a female American Pie and female Superbad, with an entirely different, “adults being stupid” film, is pretty funny but has some moments where the Liberal Hollywood propaganda about diversity and female equality are put centre stage, instead.
So, the laughs are pretty consistent throughout the movie, though it gets off to a bit of a slow start, where the laughs just aren’t there because, for whatever reason, the audience isn’t quite warmed up yet. And some of the jokes throughout are like that, where they fail to land because the delivery is weird or they’re maybe just a little too subtle (that’s not really a bad thing, necessarily). But aside from the beginning and a few other moments (see below), this has pretty consistent laughs from front to back.
The cast is pretty solid and everyone is game, none more than John Cena, who probably further alienates the remaining fans he had from wrestling, by his willingness to do some pretty emasculating things (only one of which is in the trailer), which certain people will think make him less of man or, heaven forbid, not hetero-normative.
But the young women, who are maybe not as good at the comedic moments as their parents, are certainly very believable in their roles and one of which, at least, embodies a fairly unfamiliar role in Hollywood teen comedies, the Indian American jock girl. So that spin is also refreshing.
But I have two pretty big issues with the film as a film, one of which I knew would happen, the other of which is a bit of a surprise.
So, first off, the serious moments are, for the most part, played entirely serious, and leave rather big gaps in between the otherwise consistent laughs. There’s one messagey speech about female empowerment and then the tete-tetes between parents and children, which resolve the conflicts, are all a little too serious, and lacking in attempts at humour, to work for me. This is a comedy and I want to laugh the whole time, not get life lessons. (I can, however, try to imagine being a teenage girl or young woman and find this stuff far more compelling than all the male-oriented teens movies Hollywood has made, so there’s that.)
But the other problem, which is perhaps bigger, is that this is two different films sandwiched together. Some of the time that works, but it often feels like we’re jumping from one to the other, until the climax. And at times that’s jarring. (It’s also worth noting that one of them is funnier than the other. Guess which one.)
But I laughed enough, for sure.