Ever since I saw Booksmart, it’s been a struggle to find another ‘teen’ movie quite so good. I know, I know, it only came out three years ago, but it’s difficult to see anything coming anywhere close to it in the near future. Nevertheless, I will continue to search, even though Not Okay was clearly not going to fit that criteria; something I knew before I even pressed play.
Zoey Deutch stars as Danni, who is a photo editor at a hot shot millennial magazine but dreams of being a writer instead. Overlooked and often ignored, Danni is desperate for attention both online and in real life, so fakes a trip to Paris, where she’ll go on a bogus ‘writers’ retreat’. When a terrorist attack takes place in France when Danni is supposedly there, she becomes extremely popular upon her ‘return’, as people praise her strength and heroism. Can you say ‘yikes’?
That person saying “I hate straight people” at the start of the movie really set the tone for the rest of the film, didn’t it?
As expected, Zoey Deutch is incredibly irritating here… which makes her uniquely perfect for this role. She does her job so well that it is so easy to dislike her character, even though it’s not entirely believable that someone would go to such insane lengths for popularity. (Or is it? I’m sure some sort of insanity will have happened somewhere on earth… Let me know.) What the film does well however is display the negatives of social media on multiple levels, though there’s nothing particularly outside the box in that regard and you’ll have seen it all before.
There’s no way to skirt round this one: this movie is so cringey. The script itself is honestly shameful, as in… do they think people actually talk like that? What’s more is the topic at the forefront is such a touchy subject that it’s often really hard to watch, especially since it lacks even a smidge of subtlety. If you suffer from even an ounce of second-hand embarrassment then I suggest you stay well away from this one – it’s worse than your average “teen movie”, that’s for sure.
Technically there’s nothing exactly fresh about Not Okay; the music choices are fun but not interesting, the cinematography is average, the story is original but not outstanding, and yet it’s quite watchable on the whole. Though it does begin to drag in the latter stages, it is mostly entertaining and has some semi-decent humour running through it.
Overall, this is a completely average movie. There’s stuff to like, stuff to dislike, but it’s unlikely that you’ll think about it ever again once you’ve seen it. Meh, maybe it is just okay after all.
Not Okay is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½