If you’re in the mood for a rollicking comedy with a side of life lessons, “The Re-Education of Molly Singer Review” might pique your interest. But before you dive into this cinematic adventure, hold on tight because this movie takes you on a wild and unexpected ride. With a quirky cast led by Britt Robertson and Ty Simpkins, it promises to be a hilarious journey of self-discovery and college hijinks. Let’s break down the movie and see if it lives up to its intriguing premise.
A Not-So-Promising Start
The film introduces us to Molly Singer, played by the vivacious Britt Robertson. Molly’s college experience consisted of four years of non-stop parties, leaving us all wondering how she managed to make it to law school. Fast forward eight years, and Molly is still basking in the glory of her college popularity. However, her life has taken a nosedive into massive debt, workplace blunders, and a dwindling social circle consisting mostly of her college BFF, Ollie, played by Nico Santos.
A Familiar Comedy Setup
The initial premise seems like the perfect setup for a classic comedy. Molly is given a chance at redemption when her boss Brenda, portrayed by the often hilarious Jaime Pressly, presents her with a unique opportunity. Molly must return to her old college and transform Brenda’s socially awkward son, Elliot (Ty Simpkins), into a campus hotshot. The catch? Molly’s approach involves leveraging her old-school charm and reputation.
Comedy Gone Awry
While the stage is set for comedy gold, “The Re-Education of Molly Singer” doesn’t quite hit the mark. Instead of delivering hearty laughs and meaningful character growth, the film falls into the traps of being unfunny, bloated, and at times, needlessly cruel. One particularly questionable moment involves Molly’s attempt to manipulate a football star, Demetrious Moss, with alleged blackmail material, which comes off as cheap and mean-spirited.
One glaring issue with the film is its failure to follow through on its central theme of Molly’s “re-education.” Characters can be flawed, even unlikable, but in a movie centered around personal change and reflection, they should ultimately learn something from their missteps. Sadly, Molly’s growth feels incidental, lost in a narrative that drags on for an unnecessary two hours.
The Bloat and Dark Undertones
The film’s problems extend beyond its comedy. Plot points that should be concise are needlessly drawn out, including a subplot about Elliot’s grief over his father’s recent passing. Moreover, there’s a darker undertone lurking beneath the surface, particularly concerning Molly’s alcoholism, which is treated as a recurring joke.
A Mismatched Filmmaking Team
It’s worth noting that the film’s director, Andy Palmer, is better known for his work in horror, and screenwriters Todd M. Friedman and Kevin Haskin don’t have a strong history in female-centric comedy. This mismatch may contribute to the film’s tonal issues.
A Shining Duo
Despite its flaws, the film does have its bright spots. The casting of Britt Robertson and Ty Simpkins proves to be a wise choice. Robertson’s charisma shines through, and Simpkins brings depth to a potentially one-dimensional character. Their chemistry as unlikely friends adds a touch of authenticity to an otherwise chaotic film.
Expanding on Character Dynamics
Let’s delve deeper into the central characters’ dynamics. Molly Singer, portrayed by Britt Robertson, is a whirlwind of energy and immaturity. It’s a miracle that she graduated college the first time around, as there seemed to be no party she could resist. This chaotic persona makes you wonder how she ever landed a job at a law firm. Her boss, Brenda (Jaime Pressly), is a neurotic mother who fears that her college-bound son, Elliot (Ty Simpkins), will remain a social outcast.
Molly’s character is also known for her hard-partying ways, frequently indulging in post-work drinks and often showing up at the office with a hangover. This problematic behavior reaches its peak when she arrives late for a trial, missing out on defending a client, which leads to her getting fired. However, Brenda offers her a tantalizing, financially lucrative opportunity to return to her college stomping grounds and impart her sense of reckless abandon onto Elliot, transforming him from a lonely loser to a campus hotshot. Naturally, Molly accepts the offer without hesitation, subsequently convincing her gay best friend Ollie (Nico Santos) to leave his annoying elementary school lunchroom co-worker and return to college to help her out in exchange for a small portion of the money.
Ty Simpkins is quite endearing as the anxious outcast, still grieving the loss of his father. When he is not moping around, he is either playing video games or attempting to appear cool on TikTok by performing martial arts moves while sporting MMA clothing (a routine he regularly fails at.) There is a lot of over-the-top, ludicrous stupidity here in “The Re-Education of Molly Singer,” but Elliot’s evolution into finding himself, befriending a pretty campus girl (Cierra Ramirez), inserting himself into drinking games, finding his sense of confidence even when around bully frat boys (Zach Scheerer), and generally eases his way into a more social life feels believable.
A Comedy of Contrasts
It is not Ty Simpkins’ fault, but he seems to be in a completely different movie from everyone else, trying to find some semblance of emotional honesty during absurd, dumb scenes ranging from his mom taking him to a strip club to open him up socially, or late-shenanigans involving being framed for attacking and kidnapping a rival mascot (because of course this movie ends with a court case instead of sticking to its college setting.)
As for Molly and Ollie, they have their lessons to learn, although it hardly comes through since it is buried underneath comedic material, some of which is genuinely funny (the ensemble, including minor supporting players, all have a knack for delivery and timing), and other times unbearably grating and far too lengthy for its good (a triathlon of drinking party games with color commentary for no discernible reason other than the filmmakers incorrectly thought it would be funny and would instantly become tired.) Not to mention, there is a sexual encounter played for laughs between a woman and a gay man that somewhat crosses the line into rape territory.
That’s without acknowledging the obvious sentiment that none of this is necessarily refreshing. Moviegoers have seen something similar and much funnier a few months ago starring Jennifer Lawrence. There are some pleasantly silly ideas and occasionally funny performances here, but “The Re-Education of Molly Singer” needed a rewrite more than anything. The filmmakers are constantly distracted by situations and ideas that don’t fit into the core story here, by extension, losing any heart the story would otherwise possess.
Robertson’s Standout Performance
Britt Robertson, in her role as Molly, throws herself just as much into the wild and witty comedy as Jennifer Lawrence did in her bigger-budget release. Comedy directors should be putting Robertson at the top of their class. Her portrayal of Molly’s irrepressible immaturity and room-filling energy is a standout aspect of the film. She