Romantic comedies for teens seem to be mass-produced by Netflix in recent months. Although a few have been positively reviewed and contain bearable amounts of genuine acting, many have wound up being sappy, poorly produced disasters. The newest addition to the genre, Tall Girl, unfortunately falls into Netflix’s pile of misses and fails to impress nearly everyone who views it.
16-year-old Jodi (Ava Michelle) is a brainy, beautiful girl from a well-off family. She is talented, compassionate, and adored by her closest friends. She even has a boy practically begging on his knees for her love and attention—something almost any girl would swoon over. Amongst the seemingly endless list of positive aspects of Jodi’s life, there is one inconvenience that she—and the movie—choose to dwell on: her height.
Standing at 6-foot-1, Jodi and the rest of her status-obsessed high school peers can not get over the growth spurt that sent her head and shoulders a bit higher than everyone else’s. Apparently, the students who have repeatedly mocked and teased Jodi for years have never seen a teenage girl with a greater speed of growth. The movie chooses to take a girl with a life many would dream of living, and provide her with a relatively insignificant hardship that they attempt to blow up into a great misfortune; however, the producers failed and created a film which many are mocking for its cliche plot and terrible attempt to turn a personal insecurity into an immense tragedy.
Throughout the film, director Nzingha Stewart and writer Sam Wolfson seem to be much more concerned with the romantic and social aspects of the awkward high school years rather than the actual struggles of withholding insecurities. Aside from the occasional side comments and harsh nicknames tossed at Jodi, the attempt to truly allow the audience to understand what life as a “tall girl” is like, fell extremely short. The producers chose to focus much more on the status of the minor characters and their high school experiences rather than creating an exciting plot closing in on the life of a girl who stands out in her own world.
After being bullied by her classmates for years, Jodi has found herself a shy, bashful girl wishing she could live each day of her life behind closed doors. But when the charming Swedish exchange student Stig (Luke Eisner) walks through the doors of her New Orlean’s high school, Jodi finds herself desiring something more than to be hidden away from the rest of her peers. The angelic Stig is now her main focus, and the two enter the rocky and unstable world of high school relationships.
In Jodi’s new search to find love, the plot could not end up being any more cliche. Classic cheating scandals, predictable first kisses, and all-too-common speeches about standing out and embracing your imperfections fill the entire runtime of the film. Just like in so many other movies that have been previously released, Tall Girl ends with a dramatic speech at the homecoming dance and an awkward kiss on the front porch.
Each attempt the producers took to create any real conflict failed miserably. Rather than focusing on the important lessons that can be learned from the very real issues within the bouncy plot, the producers dwelled upon the irrelevant moments of Hollywood’s version of the typical high school experience.
Moments after the film came to a close, it was immediately mixed into my brain with all of the other failed rom-coms created by Netflix. Its messages of bullying and living through the unique aspects of your personal life are so bland that the producers had to place their focus on keeping the social hierarchy of high schoolers alive.