This engaging teen comedy, starring Skyler Gisondo and Olivia Holt, marks the feature film directing debut of actor Eric Stoltz.
The movie is hardly original, but Stoltz and writer Benjamin August provide enough quirky individuality to keep things fresh.
It may take you a while, however, to warm to the film’s high-school student protagonists. Gisondo’s orphaned misfit is the nerdliest of nerds, while Holt’s a pushy overachiever determined to get into Yale as a stepping-stone towards her ultimate goal – a place on the US Supreme Court (portraits of the current incumbents hang over her bed).
When a number two class ranking sets her plans back, she recruits Gisondo to stand for the local school board and abolish the ranking system. What she doesn’t expect is to fall for him…
Gisondo and Holt’s appealing performances will win you over, while there’s a touchingly delicate romantic subplot involving Gisondo’s cranky grandfather (Bruce Dern) and the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper (Kathleen Chalfant) and some amusingly satirical exchanges along the way. ‘Do we really want the support of the apathetic?’ asks Gisondo during his campaign. ‘Yes,’ replies Holt, ‘that’s how elections are won.’