Connect with us


Not Okay Review | Zoey Deutch Plays the Literal Worst Person in the World in Social Media Satire



Has any film before Not Okay started by warning you that the female protagonist of the film is an awful person? This was definitely a first for me, and while Not Okay surely won’t be the last swing at mocking influencer culture, and while the film suffers from an identity crisis at times, it’s a unique take on a very timely subject. Zoey Deutch gives a great performance as someone who tells one white lie that becomes a Jenga tower that can tip over at any moment and Mia Isaac continues her star-making summer with another great performance as a teenage activist.

Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch) is just not like other girls and is living the NY dream: Eating ramen in her (absurdly large) NYC apartment and working a staff writer job at a Buzzfeed-like outlet with an office space akin to the one in Jexi. Anyways, Danni meets the newly-recruited influencer, Colin (Dylan O’Brien), and suddenly feels the urge to impress him after running into him outside of a matcha cafe that is free for influencers. To accomplish this, Danni does what any logical Gen Z’er would and fakes her trip to Paris by Photoshopping images of her in New York to appear as though she was in the City of Light. This backfires when a terrorist attack occurs while she is supposedly there and Danni now has to begin living the lie that she created but is also praised as a hero and gains notoriety.

Zoey Deutch in the film NOT OKAY. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century All Rights Reserved

On top of all that, when Danni needs help recollecting her perspective of the attacks that she did not witness, she thinks of the brilliant idea of going to a support group for survivors of trauma that I suppose she was going to use for the inspiration of her op-ed that she was commissioned for? It doesn’t really matter, but at that support group, she meets a young teenage activist and trauma survivor, Rowan (Mia Isaac), who Danni befriends and grows a close relationship with whilst growing closer to her support group and volunteering at rallies alongside Rowan. But even for Danni’s good intentions, she begins using Rowan to get more clicks to her op-ed and grow her own platform.

(From L-R): Kirk White, Zoey Deutch, and Mia Isaac in the film NOT OKAY. Photo by Nicole Rivelli. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Perhaps Danni chose the wrong field because her editing skills far exceed her writing skills. Maybe Not Okay isn’t the film to focus on the finer details with, but there are quite a few things like Danni’s absurdly big apartment despite a low-paying job that are enough to take you out of the film. Yes, the film makes it clear that she has rich parents, but if Danni has to hesitate about going to them for funding over her Paris trip — before she decided in favor of the Photoshop plan — is it really believable that they would pay for a ridiculously big NYC apartment?

Like Avengers: Endgame, the plot of Not Okay can be attributed to a rodent. his time, instead of a rat saving the universe, a hamster is to thank for Danni’s whole plan to Photoshop her way into becoming an influencer. Said hamster happens to walk across Danni’s keyboard and open Photoshop. That’s not even the most unbelievable part of the plot; especially as a former cat owner who has had my fair share of documents messed up due to a cat walking across my keyboard. One of Danni’s co-workers makes a comment about the fact that no one fact checks, but did the editor-in-chief of the outlet really approve an indefinite leave for a writer’s retreat that no one’s heard of? And did Danni just live under a rock for the time that she was “gone”? I know that New York is a huge place, but I find it extremely hard to believe that Danni never ran into a single soul that would recognize her during this time; even if it was the person working the counter of the grocery store she buys her ramen at. My last big gripe comes with the way the film handles internet trolls. Yes, there are some really nasty people, but would Danni’s entire facade really mend the bridge between conservatives and liberals? You see both sides agree upon hating Danni, telling her to “choke on her own piss,” and listing her death as the “most-anticipated.” Of course, Danni’s actions are shitty, but the MCU fandom apparently displays more division on Twitter than political parties in this film, which is saying something.

For as much as the character of Danni is irritating, Zoey Deutch deserves credit for not only taking on such a hatable role but actually nailing it. Deutch exceeds in the scenes where Danni says really out-of-pocket or slightly racist/homophobic things whilst remaining unaware of how it comes off. There’s also something to be said about the self-righteous influencers that only make statements for their own gain, which Deutch does well as Danni at times appears as though she is trying to change, but her actions are still wrong and you’re waiting for the tower of cards to finally collapse. It’s a far different role than her one in The Outfit — a film everyone should see — and one that allows her to show off her range.

Speaking of The Outfit, Deutch’s co-star, Dylan O’Brien, plays the influencer Colin — whose Instagram handle is also that of the randoms I encounter on NBA 2K, @weedboicolin, and has the personality of what I envision those guys from the YouTube video game clans being like and the appearance of one of the Paul brothers. He’s not in the film a whole lot, but it’ll take a few scenes before you realize that it’s Dylan O’Brien under the neck tattoos, shades, and ridiculous dialect.

Mia Isaac and Zoey Deutch in the film NOT OKAY. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century All Rights Reserved

The real star of the show is Mia Isaac. She’s the best part of both Not Okay and Don’t Make Me Go, and the world is her oyster. She’s the emotional core of the film and Isaac brings tenacity to all of her scenes; especially in the scenes with rallies, spoken word performances, and confrontation of another character. You’ll believe every word that she speaks to the point that you’ll wonder if she is an actual political activist.

Director Quinn Shephard does a fine job as a director, Not Okay is directed well and Shephard has a good handle on what influencer culture looks like. I think her writing is even better, as Not Okay‘s dialogue is usually sharp. The biggest issue with the film is that it’s slightly overstuffed with ideas — some that are worth tackling — and some of that fluff could have been trimmed to make for a more concise film.

At its best, Not Okay is a sharp commentary on the influencer culture that we live in where YouTubers pop up on WWE programming and misguided activism. At its worst, Not Okay leans too heavily into burlesque satire to the point that the characters become caricatures. And I know that this film isn’t too focused on the finer details, but some of the plot holes/conveniences are hard to overlook. So while Not Okay is attempting to make a statement worth trending, it results in a film that would classify as #mid, as the kids would say.

Searchlight Pictures will release Not Okay on Hulu on July 29.


Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Disney’s Latest Star “Wish”



Ariana DeBose as Asha in Wish (Disney)


Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.

Ariana Debose as Asha in Wish (Disney)

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The film is inspired by Disney’s centennial, which ties together a central theme across most of the Disney-related stories — of wishes and dreams coming true. One can view it as the origin story for the wishing star, albeit a funny star. Disney delivers a feel good story filled with humor and the occasional teases and links to other Disney-related works. Ariana DeBose braces the big screen as the hero, Asha who discovers a sinister secret about King Magnifico and his use of the wishes.

Ariana’s performance performance is amazing and I enjoyed listening to the songs she performed. I foresee “This Wish” topping the charts at Spotify soon.

This Wish by Ariana DeBose (Spotify)

Chris Pine plays the part of King Magnifico and delivers a good performance as the villain. We hear him sing a song alongside Ariana, At All Costs.

At All Costs by Chris Pine & Ariana DeBose (Spotify)

The story delivers the usual fun characters that Disney brings along in all stories, amazing graphics of a magical world, and an amazing song library for everyone to listen to. This movie is excellent for young and old, delivering a feel-good movie for all. Wish is yet another treasure in the world of Disney.

I’m really excited for the next 100 years of Disney magic. The movie Wish has the potential to become a sequel, or even provide potential spin-offs exploring the wishes and dreams of others in the magical Disney Universe.

My wish is for more many more years of movie magic from Disney. What is yours?

My rating is a 4 out of 5 for Disney’s Wish. Watch at a cinema near you and join in the Disney centennial celebrations!

Wish Official Trailer (Disney)

Continue Reading


‘The Holdovers’ Review | Paul Giamatti, Alexander Payne Reunite For This Year’s Most Beautiful and Poignant Comedy



Paul Giamatti and Dominic Sessa in 'The Holdovers' (Focus Features)

“They don’t make them like that anymore” is one sentence that we hear a lot when it comes to cinematic brilliance. Most of the times, it is used for titles that might be considered a classic. Sadly, this sentence is being used too often these days and even for those projects, that might not even qualify. However, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers is undoubtedly one of the movies that deserves to be called an instant classic and I can wholeheartedly say: “They don’t make them like that anymore.”

The holiday season has arrived and audiences want to see movies that makes them feel that holiday spirit. Although it is very rare to see both these qualities in the movies these days, ‘The Holdovers’ has quietly gained popularity among cinephiles this holiday season, emerging as one of the year’s best films among audiences.

The movie is set in a boy’s boarding school in New England in 1970. Paul Hunham is a stern yet brilliant professor who refuses to give passing grades to rich students just because their parents are some of the school’s biggest donors. He is firm and doesn’t let these brats take advantage of him. On the other hand, we have Angus Tully, who is the son of wealthy parents attending the school who tends to ready the students for top universities. It’s Christmas time and everyone is going home, but things take a wild turn for Hunham when he is forced to babysit for children whose parents are unable to let them return home for the holidays. Eventually, Tully ends up being the only child in Hunham’s supervision. As the two begin to spend time with each other, they slowly begin to know much more about each other and understand why they are how they are.

Dominic Sessa, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti in ‘The Holdovers’ (Focus Features)

There is no doubt that Paul Giamatti’s role as Paul Hunham is one of his most compelling roles. Make no mistake, Giamatti has given several amazing performances, but Hunham turns out to be a role that makes audiences realise how truly amazing he is as an actor. The way he insults people in this movie is hilariously brilliant. It seems Giamatti had a lot of fun while shooting this film and went down the memory lane to prepare for the role. Giamatti is just breath-taking in this role. On the other hand, Dominic Sessa is truly a revelation here and delivers a performance that touches everyone’s heart. In the beginning, you might not like his character but as the story moves forward, you understand why he is like this and Sessa completely nails it.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph delivers a deeply heartbreaking performance as a grieving mother in the film. Randolph gives a detailed performance showing both deep sadness and moments of happiness. It’s a portrayal of grief that feels very genuine and touching.

Even though there are moments that makes the film touching, ‘The Holdovers’ is hardly a serious drama. It’s a very welcoming holiday movie that doesn’t shy away from being funny and absurd. These characters have faced sadness, loss, and pain. However, the movie bravely allows us to laugh alongside them, as their humorous shortcomings transform a typical holiday stay at home into unexpected hospital visits and adventurous trips spanning multiple cities. For many people, it will be nostalgic to see this old-school sweet holiday movie that they must have seen in their youth and takes them to a time where people cared about feelings.

All in all, THE HOLDOVERS is a moving, bittersweet comedy drama that instantly becomes a Holiday classic. A story where you’d think how emotions don’t change even though life has.

Continue Reading


‘Nightingales In The Cocoon’ Review | A Captivating Tale Celebrating Hope and Joyous Shared Moments



Official poster of 'Nightingales in the Cocoon' (Unchained Pictures)

Nightingales in the Cocoon is a vivid and heartwarming portrait of transformation and connection in a bustling city. The short beautifully captures the essence of hope, resilience, and the power of shared experiences. In just five minutes, this story carries a profound message that transcends its simplicity. Dharavi, often characterized by its challenging environment, serves as the backdrop for the story’s beginning. It sets the stage for two children’s life-altering decision to break free from their past. This decision, in itself, is a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and the pursuit of a better life.

The symbolism of leaving behind what is perceived as “trash” is a powerful metaphor for shedding the burdens of the past. The discarded keyboard, seemingly insignificant, becomes a symbol of forgotten dreams and overlooked opportunities. As fate would have it, two young kids in Navi Mumbai stumble upon this abandoned keyboard, which becomes the catalyst for a heartwarming journey. The excitement and curiosity the keyboard sparks in them are relatable and heartening. It reminds us of the pure joy that simple discoveries can bring, especially to young minds eager for new experiences.

A still from ‘Nightingales in the Cocoon’ (MUBI)

The act of acquiring batteries to breathe new life into the neglected instrument is a moment of resourcefulness and determination. It’s a reminder that even in the face of challenges, a little effort can rekindle lost passions and unlock new possibilities. The transformation of the once-silent keys into a source of melodies that fill the air is a beautiful metaphor for the transformative power of art and creativity. The kids’ dance to these newfound tunes is a celebration of life’s simple pleasures and the joy of shared experiences.

This story serves as a reminder that shared moments of happiness can bridge the gaps between individuals and communities. In the bustling city where stark contrasts exist, the shared joy and rekindled dreams bring people together. It’s a testament to the universal language of music and the ability of the human spirit to find connections even in the most unexpected places.

Nightingales in the Cocoon beautifully captures the essence of hope, resilience, and the universal desire for connection and joy. It’s a brilliant and simple narrative that reminds us of the beauty in the everyday moments of life and the power of transformation and human connection.

Continue Reading

Popular Now



Trending is a property of Coastal House LLC. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies/owners.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x