Do Revenge, with Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke, is too cluttered to service any of its many moving parts, homages, or tones

Do Revenge Review

Do Revenge hits Netflix on Friday, Sept. 16.

A muddled mix of '90s teen flicks, curated for a new generation (with a Hitchcock premise swirled in), Do Revenge is a lukewarm high school vengeance tale that never settles on a tone and is barren when it comes to laughs. It's third act retroactively explains why the first two feel so scatterbrained but it's not enough to pull the story together. That leaves us with an unsatisfying finish and a film that has way too many disjointed ideas floating about.
From Sweet/Vicious creator (and Thor: Love and Thunder co-writer) Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Do Revenge wants to wield the adult edgy blade of a Cruel Intentions (Sarah Michelle Gellar even cameos as the school's headmaster) while still playing things for Clueless-level fun. It's set at a posh school for the ultra wealthy and asks a great deal of us when it comes to investing in the troubles and turmoils of the preposterously privileged.
Do Revenge GalleryDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on NetflixDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on NetflixDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on NetflixDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on NetflixDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on NetflixDo Revenge airs September 16th, 2022 on Netflix
One of the movie's co-leads is supposedly not rich at all, but we barely get a taste of her home life or experience her outside of a fantastically pristine existence. So there are definitely sympathy struggles afoot, even though some of these contradictory elements get called out following a late-in-the-game twist.
Riverdale's Camila Mendes and Stranger Things' Maya Hawke star as Drea and Eleanor, two seniors who agree to ruin the lives of the others' tormentor. For Mendes' Drea, it's an ex-boyfriend (a particularly punchable Austin Abrams) who she thinks leaked a sexy video she sent him privately. For Hawke's Eleanor, it's a girl who long ago accused her of making an unwelcome pass at her and got her labeled as a queer predator. The film, though, is somewhat lax with this set up since even before Drea and Eleanor meet, Drea outright obliterates the life of someone else who wronged her (Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner in brief role), making it seem like she's more than capable of handling her own revenging.
A big issue here is that things aren't supposed to make all that much sense for a large run of the story because everything's nurturing the aforementioned twist. Granted, this big upheaval is the most inspired and entertaining part of the movie, but it sort of means the bulk of the picture has to suffer because of it. Mendes and Hawke are both fun here, but there's a definitely a tighter movie hidden somewhere inside this (kind of Netflix's M.O.) and there's a better setting to use for this comeuppance caper.
The best through line in Do Revenge isn't the revenge aspect; it's the unlikely friendship formed by Drea and Eleanor.
The messaging here, buried within the popspeak, runs the gamut of how everyone's hurt someone at some point to rich people using others' tragedy to bolster their own image to how most sex scandals only damage the women involved, never the men, but it's hard for any of this to fully resonate in the midst of these teenagers' luxurious lives -- lives where if if one's "ruined," there's a soft cushion of cash to fall back on. Again. Drea supposedly doesn't come from this life but there's hardly a moment where she doesn't act like she does.
The best through line in Do Revenge isn't the revenge aspect; it's the unlikely friendship formed by Drea and Eleanor, which itself turns a cliche or two upside-down. Drea is the fancy girl who isn't rich while Eleanor is the awkward, shy transfer student who, like everyone else at the school, comes from a ton of money. That element was worth exploring a bit more, while also being one of a dozen ideas this movie couldn't settle on.
The Most '90s Movies of the 1990sFor better or worse, some movies are simply a product of their time. Let's take a look at some films that now seem inextricably linked to the 1990s, with all the fashions and trends that came with the decade.<b>Airborne (1993):</b> A teen surfer poet who says <b>Batman and Robin (1997):</b> The world of 1990s blockbusters looked a heck of a lot different than it does now, and comic book films like Batman & Robin were sometimes just pop explosions of garish lights, tacky costumes, hammy overacting and endless action figure tie-ins. Nowadays everyone takes Batman seriously, but in the mid-1990s he was a marketing bonanza. A film like Batman & Robin could never get made today... we hope.<b>Bio-Dome (1996):</b> Bio-Domes were all the rage in the 1990s. So was Pauley Shore. In this brash, MTV-inspired comedy a pair of idiots played by Shore and Stephen Baldwin end up locked in a hermetically sealed environment for a year with scientists who hate them. We're supposed to sympathize with the wacky heroes in the 1990s, but their steadfast refusal to act like real people - and their dedication to being boorish slingers of failed catchphrases - make them the villains in this or any other decade.<b>Clueless (1995):</b> Teen-centric remakes of classic literature were all the rage in the 1990s, and Clueless is one of the best and most popular examples. Based on Jane Austen's novel Emma, and set in a heightened, but still vaguely recognizable world of high-fashion, affluent Beverly Hills high schoolers, Alicia Silverstone (the star of immensely popular 1990s Aerosmith music videos) plays a teen matchmaker who can't figure out her own love life. The costumes, the music, the specific blend of self-absorbed obliviousness, and the awesome young cast make Clueless quintessential 1990s viewing.<b>Cool as Ice (1991):</b> The brief but meteoric rise of rap star Vanilla Ice peaked in this sugar-addled and hopelessly corporate attempt to look cool. Cool as Ice stars Vanilla as a heroic rebel who wanders into a town full of kooky characters who you'd normally only find in a breakfast cereal commercial, singing impossibly dated songs and trying to act as though a guy who can afford the most designer clothes in the world is put-upon. It's a desperate ploy to sell Vanilla Ice to people who might have thought he was lame, and it only proved once and for all to those people how lame he was. It could only have happened in the 1990s.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Matt Fowler

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