“Booksmart” and its bad box-office are no doubt of concern this weekend as the female version of “Superbad,” from director Olivia Wilde, just didn’t cut the mustard for audiences. It garnered some rather tepid numbers, in fact. Critics have been pushing this film ever since its triumphant SXSW debut. Fact of the matter is this; the film itself, “Booksmart,” felt like it was set in a faux world. If “Lady Bird” was lived-in and authentic then “Booksmart” turned out to be quite the opposite. The movie is entertaining enough as it goes but much of the comedy feels implausible. It isn’t the second-coming that many critics have claimed it to be (85 Metascore, 97% on RT) and it sure as hell isn't remotely close to “Superbad”-level goodness.
Deadline‘s Anthony D’Alessandro: “We can’t ignore the small start of UA/Annapurna’s Booksmart, which is bound to see $7.8M over four days. The movie looked like a female Superbad, but more indie. Great reviews and solid exits, but no one is taking the time out over the holiday weekend to see it. Saturday’s $2.1M ticket sales were down 16% from Friday. Smart, R-rated, critically acclaimed teenage girl pics remain a tough sub-genre. Booksmart‘s bests plays were in big cities on the coast, especially in the west.”
In my 4.3.19 review of the film, in which I rated it a B, I praised Beanie Feldstein’s performance, which saves the movie, and also wrote:
“Wilde’s after-hours journey is no doubt filled with the familiarity that comes in the tradition of final-night-of-high-school classics such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Superbad,” “American pie,” and “American Graffitti,” but if “Booksmart” can’t reach the same heights as those aforementioned movies it nevertheless compensates by tackling something that all of those films clearly lacked: the female experience.”