‘Moxie’ review: Amy Poehler’s last attempt at direction doesn’t come through


Duration: 111 minutes. Classified: PG-13 (thematic elements, strong language and sexual material, and some teenagers drinking). On Netflix.

Amy Poehler might want to reconsider everything directly.

The actress, needless to say, is a comedic power on screen, and has also made waves as a prolific television producer. Poehler, who co-hosted the “Golden Globe Awards” for the third time Sunday, apparently evolved into a Hollywood jill of all trades. . . except for one, viz.

“Moxie” is the second feature film for which she is sitting in the director’s chair, after the unfortunate missfire of 2019. “Wine Country”And can’t even tell a challenging story with panache.

A frustrating feminist comedy of a young adult without good jokes, “Moxie” is a cross between a 90’s family sitcom and a much superior teenage film, like “Lady Bird. “Visually, the film isn’t as simple as it is routine. Emotionally, it’s catatonic. Poehler’s film lacks – please forgive me – moxie.

The spunky title comes from a fictional underground feminist magazine created by a high school outlaw named Vivian (Hadley Robinson), who is inspired by the young activism of her mother Lisa (Poehler). How do we know it’s inspired?

“Thanks for inspiring me,” Vivian tells Lisa as if she were a Hallmark speaking card.

It has been adapted a young-adult novel of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu, the film’s dialogue is all rather goofy. When Vivian is finally courted by the weird guy she likes, Seth (Nico Hiraga), says, “Back in kindergarten, you always wanted to take the spiders out when everyone else wanted to flash them.”

Always? What kind of poor school, infested with arachnids was this?

Although no one knows that Vivian founded the red-hot Moxie, which encourages challenging acts of protest such as wearing a tank top, she becomes more confident and outgoing in her personal life. She starts making new friends as ideas.

A man named Kiera (Sydney Park) competes with the popular quarterback of the football team, Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), to win a scholarship called Student Athlete Award. The person who has the most votes gets it, which seems like a strange way to give someone money for an education.

Amy Poehler in Moxie
“Moxie” proves that Amy Poehler, left, is a much better comedic actress than she is a director.
© Netflix / Courtesy Everett

Mitchell, by the way, is cartoonishly cruel – like Biff from “Back to the Future,” with no fun or originality. On the other hand is Seth, who is so impossible gentle and sensitive, can be a reincarnated corgi.

This movie is not the right one to judge these young actors. There is talent here. The camaraderie of the group is pleasing to look at, and their understanding of the characters, as they are, is deepened. Vivian is Robinson’s biggest film role to date, and she’s relaxed and sympathetic, even though Poehler’s Lisa doesn’t have a strong maternal connection to her.

Honestly, I’d rather see Poehler cure the wind and star in “Baby Mama 2.”

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