Review: Never Goin' Back
Working as a brash, female version of Superbad, writer-director Augustine Frizzell's Never Goin' Back is a comedic blast that makes for fun summer fare. Like Superbad, its core is friendship and how intense it can be in adolescence. Female raunchy comedies aren't found in abundance so kudos to A24 for supporting this film.
As a gift for her best friend's 17th birthday, Angela (Maia Mitchell) gets a beach vacation to Galveston for Jessie (Camila Morrone). Unfortunately this means she used rent money for the vacation. The young girls share an apartment with Jessie's brother Dustin (Joel Allen). He is involved in a botched drug deal and loses his rent money. This sends both parties on a quest to try and scheme up the rent.
While this may sound like Never Goin' Back is plot driven it is really a hangout movie. The situation never really is the focus. Instead we follow the best friends as they wreak havoc across Fort Worth, FL. They do drugs, harass locals, and crack each other up. Their hijinks are often hilarious and vulgar. Frizzell's script keeps things from just being gag after gag by showing how the friendship between Angela and Jessie feeds and sustains them even when life swings from lows and highs. There is a genuine and unique quality in how the film explores female friendship.
The two leads here make the film. Frizzell's direction is occasionally slapdash. Styles and tones shift with a lack of polish but the leads remain infectious. Mitchell and Morrone's chemistry is enough to make the film memorable. Both give strong, nuanced performances that support an authentic friendship between them.
Never Goin' Back keeps things light and energetic. Being an independent production allows the film to be vulgar in a way studio comedies sometimes cannot be. It is refreshing to see females be this crass. A24 continues to build a brand that film fans can count on and this is an entertaining and funny entry in their stunning filmography.