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Dude should have been a series – point blank. For between the writing and casting, this just being an hour and a half will make you feel cheated.
|Screenplay By||Olivia Milch, Kendall McKinnon|
|Genre(s)||Coming of Age, Drama, Comedy|
Dude handles the bond of four young women, Lily, Amelia, Rebecca, and Chloe who perhaps have the most authentic relationship you might have seen in a while. Yes, they are vulgar, but it isn’t in such a way where you are led to believe this is a male teen comedy now with girls and vagina jokes. There is a realness to the girls which doesn’t make you feel this is just gender-swapped.
For whether it is Lily’s abandonment issues, Chloe starting to question if she can live with all these grand plans Lily has planned for their life, Amelia dealing with her parents’ divorce, and Rebecca dealing with pending student loan death, their issues are real. Something that, despite the drugs and partying they do to relieve themselves of life, it doesn’t always help. All it does is provide a distraction.
One which, with graduation coming up, and something that happened in junior year still haunting Lily, among another gaping hole in her life, it seems all the drugs, planning and parties will no longer suffice. Real conversations, beyond complicated relationships with parents and money, have to be had. With the most difficult one being, what will happen when their lives together aren’t made convenient by going to the same school every day?
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
Couldn’t Have Asked For A Better Cast
This movie has the type of cast that should be pestered, year after year, about when they are going to work with so and so again? For, especially if you grew up on ABC Family or MTV, it is like Olivia Milch and Kendall McKinnon tapped into the best characters each actress played, or their general persona, and like an act of fan service, wrote them to attract their fans. Which I am eternally grateful for since somehow they got these very different girls to mesh pretty well.
Awkwafina is as we saw on Girl Code, and have gotten a glimpse of in Milch’s next production, Ocean’s 8. Shipp, as increasingly seen, is the party girl who can break the perception and have a deep conversation with someone. If they allow her to or engage her. But then there is Hale and Prescott.
Now, I should note Hale doesn’t play her usual good girl with bad taste persona. She is a bit more high strong, vulgar, sexual, and as much as she may increasingly be playing “adult” characters, this role seemed like an actual adult. Not just Hale playing someone over 18 who has the personality of how women were expected to be in a bygone era. Plus, probably for the first time, I felt like she could act.
Which I don’t mean in an insulting kind of way. What I mean is, that she could be more than the cute love interest or someone kind of naive. Thanks to Prescott, who brings about some old Skins and Finding Carter vibes, Hale gets challenged and exhibits she is a better actress than usually seen or given credit for. And focusing specifically on Prescott, while, admittedly, her role mostly acts as a catalyst to Lily’s issues, as with the rest of the ladies, there is something about her character that makes you so badly wish this was a series and not just an hour and a half movie.
Something you can thank Milch and McKinnon for. Especially since, as noted, it seems they practically wrote this movie with these actresses in mind and played up to their strengths. That is, alongside crafted not necessarily a huge backstory for each one, but more than enough for you to feel like, between a mini-series or multi-season show, a pretty good dramedy could have been born from this.
But something that I must note are the conversations. This film, as much as its comical to hear Rebecca talk about pulling out two tampons to cops or Jack McBrayer talk about drugs, the serious moments are such a highlight. One in particular that I feel the need to re-watch, for it hit me so hard, was when Amelia and Rebecca were talking about being disappointed with their parents. A topic that had more layers than I was expecting, particularly from the two who didn’t feel like the focus, and was perhaps deeper than anything presented from young adults that wasn’t in a novel.
And ultimately it really makes you feel that time and effort was put not just into the writing but making sure these actresses could completely inhabit these characters naturally. Making it so, again, when you realize the film is over, and not knowing if there will be a sequel, it is a bit of a bummer.
On The Fence
So, About That Rape They Just Blew Over…
There is a rape in the movie and it presents the type of situation where, depending if the usual suspects watch this movie, you may see some articles on Jezebel and such sites. Which I wouldn’t blame them for writing since a rape scene, that gets blown off to the tune of the person being “goal-oriented,” isn’t properly called for what it was. Maybe to imply that, at the age of 17 or 18, the person raped just didn’t have the language or knowledge at the time. If not how complicated the situation was since there was making out and heavy petting beforehand.
But, let me say, she said sex wasn’t on her agenda so him tricking her by going from eating her out to possibly ejaculating in her, that should have been made into a bigger deal.
There are only a handful of movies I can think of, off hand, I’d watch more than once, and even arrange to watch with friends to not just see their reactions, and to be able to talk about the movie, but to make sure they actually saw it. Dude is one of those movies. It is one of the few that feels like each character was made for what that actress is known for and capable of. All the while, also bringing into play a touch of raunchy realness that doesn’t seem to be made in the ilk of, “Girls get horny and vulgar too!” but that young adults do and say stupid things. Either for some kind of cathartic release or to avoid real issues.
And with only the rape situation being worth raising an eyebrow about, that’s why this is being labeled positive and recommended. While I often say Netflix is more worried about quantity than quality, so that they at least put out one thing to justify your subscription weekly, I can only hope this doesn’t get buried under the sometimes 13+ productions they release weekly. For I do believe, especially if you enjoy female-focused films, this is one to see.