Film Review: Status Update (2018)

2018 in Cinema:

Status Update, 2018

Directed by: Scott Speer

Starring: Ross Lynch, Olivia Holt, Courtney Eaton

 

This film is aimed at teenage girls, and, for those who don’t know the man behind Second City Cinema, I will inform you that I am not a teenage girl. Status Update sees Kyle (Ross Lynch) be moved from California to Connecticut after his parents split where he joins a new school, befriends an unpopular-yet-loveable nerd and crushes on a girl. His problem, though, is that he’s not settling in and is constantly being ridiculed, until he discovers the app U-niverse. This app, where you set statuses and sent them off into the universe, grants you anything you desire. Suddenly, Kyle has the ability to make himself the best singer, the best hockey player, the most romantic and the most popular, but does all that make him happy?

If you thought having a magic app that grants your wishes was original, everything else in this film isn’t. His befriending of the unpopular-yet-loveable nerd: Spiderman: Homecoming. His dilemma between the big sports game and the singing group’s final with the girl he’s crushing on: American Pie/High School Musical. A teenage film about an item that grants wishes: Wish Upon. The surfer-dude personality: stereotypical. Nearly every decision they seem to make just harps back to another film, be it from its genre or borrowing from others, and it really detracted from any possible enjoyment because it’s so obviously unoriginal.

I don’t know who Ross Lynch or Olivia Holt are, but I know my nieces do from their work on TV, but at least here they gave pretty solid performances for what they were in. And their original song at the end wasn’t too bad. And the film even had a few moments that made me laugh: his inability to initially properly convey what he wants out of the status made for some light moments (such as wanting to be an amazing skater but failing to specify in hockey). But those moments were too few and far apart in a film full of seen-it-before moments.

I also didn’t care much for the way the film went about its moral: Kyle only takes a moment to realise the world he’s created is wrong after he loses the app and the ability to wish for anything else, and at the end a lot of what he wished for stays in his new world despite him trying to fix things. It doesn’t really scream to kids that wishing for these things is wrong because the entire relationship he creates with Dani (Olivia Holt) is fabricated entirely from his wishes (for random ferris wheels to his actual singing ability), so he’s gained that relationship from the wishing app, not through natural means. It seems a bit confused later on and forgets about the U-niverse app being a thing ad instead becomes a re-hashed teen-chick-flick, but there was a lot of laughter and seemingly positive comments from the teenage girls which filled the cinema I was in to make me think it appeases its demographic.

 

Plot: * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * * *

Overall Rating: * * ½

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