I must confess that the experience of seeing Never Goin’ Back left me with all sorts of conflicting emotions. This is a film that begs the audience to laugh at the quote-unquote misadventures of a pair of clueless teenage girls, both of whom have recently quit high school and have little to no prospects of a future in front of them and don’t seem to care. I find it hard to laugh at characters who, in a decade or less, will be forced to face up to the ugly truth that life is not a twenty four hour party. And when that truth eventually hits, as we know that it will, it’s abundantly clear that it isn’t going to be a pretty sight at all. In fact, it won’t be a stretch to imagine seeing both of these characters in a list of casualties of drug overdose or something worse.
As the movie opens, Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone) are attempting to do double shifts at the local Dallas diner where they are currently employed. Jobs aren’t easy to find due to their lack of a high school diplomas and the duo are looking to finance a getaway. Their dream plan is a beach trip to Galveston for a few days to get away from it all. Well, I guess it’s always good to dream big, but I digress.
At any rate, the girls are currently rooming with Brandon (Kyle Mooney) and Dustin (Joel Allen). Dustin is Jessie’s brother. He also dabbles in selling drugs. As a result of Dustin’s career choice the two girls are mistakenly sent to jail for drug possession. Upon their release they lose their jobs and take to the streets, eventually detouring to Arkansas while also making multiple attempts to finance their plans. Before it’s over, the film caves into gross out humor on a grand scale in the final section.
The biggest problem with the film is the inability of the characters to grow and change. This is an essential in most great films, as we well know. Writer-director, Augustine Frizzell, isn’t interested in character growth. She’s content to just let us watch these people amble through life without any rhyme nor apparent reason to their existence.
When it was over, I wasn’t laughing. I was just sad.
Never Goin’ Back is playing in Charlotte through Thursday, August 23, but no other venues could be found in this area at press time.
Image: Maia Mitchell & Camila Morrone in Never Goin’ Back
Questions or comments? Write Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.