2.5/10 You know how they say that in the case of a penny, it costs more to make the penny than it is actually worth? I think the same can be said for this movie. I wasn’t able to find the budget of this movie and therefore how much it cost to produce but I can assure you that it is far more than this forgettable, teenage romp is worth. Since this is based upon a novel I have never read, I can’t speak on behalf of how faithful of an adaptation this is or if it changes elements from that novel. However, I can say that this movie, no matter how faithful or not, is a bad one indeed. The plot is silly and unrealistic, the heist itself is comically bad and devoid of any and all tension and suspense, the romantic subplots are insultingly predictable, etc. This falls in line with the string of endless Hollywood movies in which high school is represented in a total unrealistic way, as if the writer never attended a high school to know how one functions in real life. The blind loyalty that our four teenage leads have to their school is cartoonish. Speaking of cartoonish, the antagonist in this movie is one of the school’s teachers who couldn’t be more over the top if he tried. His character has no life and essentially stalks these underage kids which is actually pretty creepy. A super convenient coincidence involving a winter formal decoration, paired with these dumb students not realizing that a teacher has no legal right to make them open up their personal vehicles off school hours so he can conduct a search adds up to some cheesy, eye rollingly bad moments. This feels like a made for TV movie of the week aimed at high school kids. As for the positive aspects, the pacing works well as the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome. The four teenage actors won’t win any Academy Awards in their lifetimes but they are likeable enough with their onscreen presence here. Although this is no doubt a bad movie, it isn’t an excruciating movie to sit through. The writing and direction couldn’t be blander, which is why no one knows the name of writer/director Emily Hagins. The ending may be the most ridiculous moment, plot wise, but by the time you get there, you will just be grateful the movie is ending. Like a ripped dollar bill to a bank teller, this is going to be one movie experience you will be dying to give back and be rid of.
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