Review: Cool Girls – The Outskirts (2017)

Cool Girls – The Outskirts (2017)

Directed by: Peter Hutchings | 95 minutes | comedy | Actors: Victoria Justice, Avan Jogia, Peyton List, Ashley Rickards, Eden Sher, Frank Whaley, Ted McGinley, Claudia Lee, Will Peltz, Katie Chang, David W. Thompson, Nick Bailey, Noah Robbins

Stereotype, that’s the word that first comes to mind when watching ‘Cool Girls’. With a story we already know from movies like ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Sydney White’ and ‘High School Musical’, it’s no wonder that after fifteen minutes you can roughly predict the course of the film. In ‘Cool Girls’, Mindy (Eden Sher) and Jodi (Victoria Justice) – the nerds/losers always bullied by ‘Queen Bee’ Whitney – try to disrupt the social order with three other girls. The nerds must rise to power and take the place of the popular elite.

To make the well-known story less cliché and more interesting, several other storylines are started in ‘Cool Girls’, but they find no conclusion and have no further use in the main story. Take Claire, for example, the girl scout who confesses to Jodi that she is a lesbian. Quite brave and perhaps inspiring, but after that nothing is actually done anymore and you get the idea that the filmmakers only chose this so that there would be more diversity in the film.

‘Cool Girls’ tries to be funny, but doesn’t succeed very well. Bland puns like “Adolf Whitler” (Adolf Hitler and Whitney) and “Truthgate” (instead of Watergate, appropriately in a school named after President Nixon) don’t get very far, and neither do the Gilmore-style dialogues. Girls” don’t really catch on. This doesn’t mean it isn’t an entertaining movie, but it does indicate that ‘Cool Girls’ are trying too hard to become something it isn’t.

Fortunately, director Peter Hutchings has recruited a range of experienced young actors for his film, who make the most of a mediocre script. Ashley Rickards, known from “Awkward”, Victoria Justice and Avan Jogia known from “Victorious” and Claudia Lee from, among others, “Doctor Hart” (“Hart of Dixie”): these actors will most likely also bring just the right audience to this draw movie. If you like high school chick flicks and don’t mind a bit of cliche, ‘Cool Girls’ is quite a fun movie for a night out with friends. In any case, you are assured of some important life lessons (friendship above all else, and “nothing great ever happens when you’re sitting at the sidelines”) and many references to (nerd) pop culture. Just don’t expect too much from it.

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