Depending on who you ask, comparing Booksmart to Superbad is either entirely correct or a complete insult. I think it’s a fairly accurate comparison and a much-deserved compliment. Though it does leave out a key ingredient that doesn’t quite capture the full essence of the movie. While both serve as coming-of-age high school comedies that will define a generation, Booksmart feels less reliant on pure comedy and instead dives a bit deeper into the self-exploration of the characters. Where Superbad skews more towards, say, American Pie, Booksmart adds touches of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade.
First-time director Olivia Wilde delivers a story that despite hitting the familiar genre beats of its predecessors, feels both fresh and updated. The chemistry between Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever is just as weighty in the dramatic moments as it is buzzing in the comedic ones. Though I may not go so far as to call it hilarious, Booksmart is consistently funny and when it is over, you simply want to hang out with these characters for one more night.