Friday, March 8, 2019

Movie Review: "Sierra Burgess is a Loser" (2018)

Sierra Burgess is a Loser 2018 Netflix movie poster
Image Source
Movie"Sierra Burgess is a Loser"
Director: Ian Samuels
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Veronica, the hottest girl in school, gives the phone number of local loser Sierra Burgess to football quarterback and all around dreamboat Jamey, to blow him off because she doesn't like his friends. When Jamey texts Sierra thinking he's talking to Veronica, Sierra goes along with the ruse and starts to fall in love with him. In turn, Jamey believes Veronica is falling in love with him but doesn't know it's actually Sierra he's been conversating with this whole time.

Sierra Burgess is a Loser 2018 Netflix movie Shannon Purser RJ Cyler
"I need to be, Like, Susan B. Anthony, standing up for women's right, going against the grain." (Image Source)
"Sierra Burgess is a Loser" is said to be a modern-day romantic comedy retelling of "Cyrano de Bergerac," but we can't help but think that it feels a hell of a lot less like that story and a whole lot more like "Catfish." Where are Nev and Max when you need them?! This is the feature film directorial debut for Ian Samuels. It is written by Lindsey Beer, and though this is her first screenplay, she has many others in the works, including "Chaos Walking," "Masters of the Universe," and "Dungeons & Dragons." Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is what many consider a loser. She has very few friends and low self-esteem due to her insecurities about her own physical appearance. She sometimes butts heads and is the recipient of snide remarks from cheerleader Veronica (Kristine Froseth) and her group of friends/lackeys. One day while Veronica is eating lunch with her pals, Jamey (Noah Centineo), the attractive quarterback of a rival school, asks for her number. Since Jamey's nerdy-looking friends aren't up to Veronica's exceedingly high standards, she gives him Sierra's number as a joke. When Jamey starts texts Sierra thinking it's Veronica, Sierra replies to him, a little confused at first. She quickly learns he thinks he's talking to Veronica. Instead of coming clean, Sierra continues this masquerade and pretends to be Veronica to prolong this over-the-phone relationship with Jamey. Around the same time, Veronica is in desperate need of help with her studies, so she and Sierra work out a plan where Sierra will help her with schoolwork as long as she helps continue this ongoing deception in return.
Sierra Burgess is a Loser 2018 Netflix movie Noah Centineo
"It's weird, we talked so much on the phone it actually feels, like, more normal when I can't see you." (Image Source)
The ultimate goal and true intention of "Sierra Burgess is a Loser" is to be a cute teenage rom-com that is modeled after Cyrano de Bergerac for the new generation of young film watchers. It's all about the conflicting idea of whether or not we fall in love with someone's physical appearance or their personality. At least that's what it's attempting to accomplish. The only problem is that throughout this journey, the character of Veronica is the one who winds up being both physically beautiful and a good person deep down inside despite her initial cliche mean girl cheerleader act. Veronica is the one with a troubled home life that causes unneeded strife in her life. Veronica becomes the most sympathetic character by the film's end. Sierra, on the other hand, turns into a jealous, mean, spiteful person who willfully does harm to others and turns around and never fully accepts personal responsibility for it. Sierra blames society, her mother, Veronica, pretty much anyone other than herself for all of her problems. Sierra does this despite having a seemingly idealistic home-life with a famous poet for a father and an inspirational speaker for a mother. Sierra has had every advantage in the world beside a boyfriend and attractiveness that meets the perceived societal standards of physical beauty, but we guess that's all that matters in life if you're a young woman. Can you think of a more poorly delivered message for teenage girls to hear in the year of Cthulhu 2019!?!?

Beyond the crudely given message and several problematic moments, there is a little bit of humor that works here. RJ Cyler, who plays Sierra's best and seemingly only friend Dan, pretty much steals every single scene he's in and offers up laughs whenever he's on screen. Dan is also Sierra's voice of reason, though she rarely if ever listens to him. Between this film and and "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," Noah Centineo has seemingly found his niche as Netflix's 'unrealistic dream guy' who is attractive, smart, kind, and doesn't care about superficial things like looks because he only exists to further the character arcs of his female protagonists. Well, women have been pigeonholed into that role for men for decades, so it's about due time, we'd say??? Centineo manages to thrive in this part because he is so charismatic and goofy.
Sierra Burgess is a Loser 2018 Netflix movie Kristine Froseth,
"Only losers hang out with losers." (Image Source)
These few high points aren't enough to overcome the poorly delivered message of "Sierra Burgess is a Loser." We really like Shannon Purser, but she is so much better than this. Hopefully, she finds something far less problematic to star in in the future. If you want a more modern rom-com version of "Cyrano de Bergerac," we suggest seeking out Steve Martin's "Roxanne." It might not be specifically geared towards millennial/post-millennial teenagers, but it's much more effective and far less damaging.

My Rating: 4.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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