Just be yourself. Or something like that. Who cares?
High school’s a rough time for just about everybody. One person in particular who’s really struggling is Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) who gets great grades, is awesome in band, and actually has a best-friend (RJ Cyler), but is lacking in the boyfriend or self-esteem department. But her whole life gets a drastic change when, through a series of misfortunate events, begins texting one of the hottest guys in school, Jamey (Noah Centineo). Why did this happen? Well, it’s all because typical mean girl/popular girl Veronica (Kristine Froseth) set it up as a joke. And Sierra knows that Jamey is texting the wrong girl, but here’s the rub: She goes along with it. And here’s even bigger rub: She gets Veronica to help out with the plan, too. And why is that? Well, because Veronica wants to be smarter in school and attract other guys that aren’t like Jamey, so she depends on Sierra for tutoring, something that brings them all a little closer, making the relationship all the weirder as the texting hi-jinx continue on.
With this, Alex Strangelove, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix truly seems to have the market cornered on teen-dramedies, making it feel like John Hughes is alive and well, but still modern. It’s weird, too, because while none of these movies really break down barriers, challenge social-norms, and change the way we look at the world, they’re still all fine, enjoyable, and a little bit better than most of what teens are being fed these days. And it begs the question: Just how many more of these mediocre ones are we to take until we get tired of the mediocrity and want something a little more substantial?
For me, Sierra Burgess may be the tipping-point because, like the other two movies I’ve mentioned, it’s perfectly fine and adequate, but it also makes me wonder: Why aren’t these movies much more challenging? Sierra Burgess does something somewhat interesting in taking the Cyrano de Bergerac story and placing it in modern-day high school, but really, there’s not much more to it. There’s heart, some humor, and a whole lot of adolescent romance, and it’s all perfectly fine to sit there and watch, however, there comes a point when something is too pleasing.
You know, if that makes any sense.
Still, like I said, Sierra Burgess is still perfectly fine staying adequate and not really challenging at all. If anything, it’s much more dramatic than you’d expect, focusing more on these character’s lives, hopes, dreams, and heartbreaks that we always want to hear and see more often in teen movies, but so rarely actually get. Even the mean girl Veronica is a three-dimensional human who acts the way she does because of the pain and torment that’s been brought onto her, therefore, making us relate to her in just the smallest quantities possible.
Same goes for just about everyone else here, especially Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess. While this character is a formulaic one we’ve seen before, Purser still somehow is able to throw in a decent amount of charm and likability that still feels like her own take on said formula. And yes, if you’ve seen To All of the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Noah Centineo is pretty much playing the same hunky, yet sweet jock here that he played in that movie and is fine at it.
Maybe it’s time for a change? Maybe not? Who cares. Let’s just make these movies a little better. Please.
Consensus: Enjoyable and sweet enough, Sierra Burgess is a Loser gets by on charm and heart, but not much on originality.
5.5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Netflix