'The Outcasts': Film Review

Courtesy of Vision Films
Amiable but underwhelming.
4/14/2017

Misfit high schoolers band together in Peter Hutchings' teen comedy.

Two high-school girls get a firsthand lesson in the downsides of revolution in The Outcasts, Peter Hutchings' peppy vision of the meek inheriting the Earth, or at least the campus of a high school. Eden Sher and Victoria Justice make sympathetic protagonists for a story that owes nearly everything to a million high school comedies before it; their likability is unlikely to carry the pic far, even in the digital arena.

Sher and Justice play science-geek Mindy and would-be songwriter Jodi, both struggling under the Queen Bee dominance of blonde meanie Whitney (Claudia Lee). After an attempt to reason with their persecutor goes awry in humiliating fashion, they decide to survive bullying by "beating those fascists at their own game."

They enlist leaders of various misfit factions (the cloak-wearing Tolkien freak, the Steve Jobs-worshiping Asian-American) to form an alliance of cliques, and for a brief moment, they enjoy a nerd utopia: Their freak-flag weekend party, with bouncy-house Twister and cosplay, looks vastly more fun than the covert keggers of yesteryear.

But then the yearning for liberation turns to a lust for revenge, and new dictatorial impulses emerge. Dominique Ferrari and Suzanne Wrubel's screenplay has no interest in the history/politics-based comedic possibilities here (if it's not related to the Periodic Table, they're not interested in allusions to actual schoolwork), and in the absence of sharp writing, all the movie really has to go on is our interest in its heroes — who, happily, are a touch less generic than their surroundings.

 

Production company: BCDF Pictures

Distributor: Swen Group

Cast: Eden Sher, Victoria Justice, Claudia Lee, Frank Whaley, Avan Jogia, Peyton List, Jazmyn Richardson, Ashley Rickards, Katie Chang, Ted McGinley

Director: Peter Hutchings

Screenwriters: Dominique Ferrari, Suzanne Wrubel

Producers: Brice Dal Farra, Claude Dal Farra, Brian Keady

Executive producers: Victoria Bousis, Glenn W. Garland, Christian Mercuri, Lauren Munsch, Russ Rossi

Director of photography: John Thomas

Production designer: Dan Leigh

Costume designer: Anney Perrine

Editor: Jeffrey Wolf

Composer: Spencer David Hutchings

Casting directors: Henry Russell Bergstein, Allison Estrin

 

PG-13, 94 minutes

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