Chick Flick Failure: “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” movie review

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SHRAVANI REDDY

The teen chick flick “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser,” directed by Ian Samuels, is just one of Netflix’s recent controversial releases. The movie follows the life of high school loser Sierra Burgess (“Stranger Things” beloved Shannon Purser) who accidentally develops a crush on Jamey (Noah Centineo, best known for “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”), a mildly popular football quarterback.

In a desperate attempt to follow the typical chick flick plot line, “Sierra Burgess” falls so terribly short, providing neither the fuzzy feelings of romantic comedy nor the strong impact of social commentary. The film tries to explicitly capture teenage emotion, but better captures meaningless physical attraction rather than the perfectly sweet, perfectly awkward magic that genre audiences look for; there is no room for the audience to fill in the gaps and participate in the romance.

Also, the archetypal characters of teenage romantic comedy are present, but are too lazily characterized; Sierra is smart and Jamey is secretly sensitive (Could this be “Mean Girls,” “Legally Blonde,” every single Disney Channel original?). The dialogue presents this same problem. As Sierra and her father, Mr. Burgess riff in literary quotations and popular girls speak exclusively in simple sentences, the storytelling is predictable to a fault. 

And although the issues of catfishing and body positivity are major aspects of the film, neither is fully addressed. What happened to the fat shaming Sierra endures? Or her predatory texting habits? When Jamey swoops in to the save the day, all of our heroine’s problems are forgiven and forgotten. These social issues were supposed to differentiate this film from other romantic comedies, but by the conclusion, they appear to be merely ornamental, relevant only in namesake and for publicity.

Overall, I don’t recommend giving your time to “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” – it doesn’t leave you with anything but unanswered questions and general dissatisfaction with the forced plot structure and molded characters.