Ewan Gleadow

Review: Tall Girl

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Copyright: Netflix

My position as a film critic gives me a rare opportunity and platform, where I can say pretty much whatever I want about the film I have just seen. For some films the time between finishing the viewing and finishing the review is blissfully short, other times it takes weeks, maybe a month or two at the most struggling of times. But for Tall Girl, I truly have no words for how genuinely, laughably awful it was. The intoxicating highs of watching through this was a blast, but the content within is so horrifically unbearable that it’s best not to think about for prolonged periods of time. Because once you remove its inadvertent hilariousness, it boils down to some of the most misguided and uninteresting pieces of film ever put to screen.

Tall Girl’s premise is, quite literally, what if a woman were tall. Being the same height as our protagonist, Jodi, I find it odd that I’m expected to relate or even find some inkling of empathy for her. She is tall, people ask her “how the weather is up there” or jokes of an equal effect. Bullied ever since she was four years old for her height, Tall Girl follows Jodi in your sub-standard coming of age filler trash that looks to follow how tough it is to grow up being 6”1. A truly touching tale, brought to life by the writer of Jewtopia and the director of Our Icon, a rightly forgotten documentary about Michael Jackson.

The main problem Tall Girl has is that, once the hilarity of its ridiculous premise is stripped away, it’s yet another contemptible and dreadful piece of generic, coming of age film that looks to dramatise and glorify typical American tropes. Why do these movies always centre on Homecoming, and why is the climax of the movie always there? Who knows. But what I do know is that Tall Girl forgets to have that climactic moment, or at least forgets to do anything with it. It builds on the ever-expected love triangle that is yanked out of basically every romantic comedy that involves a high school scenario. But somehow, it does it in a much worse fashion.

None of the characters in this film feel at all interesting or fulfilled by the end of the ridiculously lengthy rom-com. That’s not that big a surprise when all of the characters within this film are one note stereotypes, so dumbed down and all-encompassing that any dribbling passer-by can relate themselves to. We have the inherently snobby side antagonist that has always bullied our heroic protagonist. We’ve got the guy that’s in love with the leading girl, and of course that girl is in love with the new guy, and those two guys are conveniently connected to one another.

Messy. That’s the word I would use to describe the standing of Tall Girl’s useless character ventures. Nobody feels fully fleshed out, because if a character dares to have any pressing levels of charm or intrigue then it’d alienate a strangely large audience. A supporting character carries around a milk crate every day, and the reason for it is so barbarically stupid that I didn’t quite know what level of reality I was meant to be operating on when I reached the ultimately stupid reason as to why a small teenager would need such a large box.

Someone looked at the script for this movie and thought it was a good idea. What’s scarier is that they convinced a large group of people that this would not only be a good idea for a film, but also a positive career choice. Presumably meant to kickstart the careers of Ava Michelle and Luke Eisner (and looking to end those of Steve Zahn and Angela Kinsey) Tall Girl pits these two tall individuals in an intrepid, vile, stomach churning “will they won’t they” piece. Michelle and Eisner have no visible chemistry, and the only thing they have in common is hair colour and height. Tragedy strikes the rest of the cast too, full of faces that are meant to be the Generation Z version of High School Musical.

Some months ago, I called Action Point the worst film of the decade. A film where Johnny Knoxville fought a bear while at the same time trying to keep the Jackass brand alive, is somehow not the rock bottom I had been looking for. No, instead the waning years of this decade have thrown up something so utterly contemptible, something that has filled me with genuine confusion and disregard for cinema as an art form. A film that asks one simple question. How bad must it be, to be a fairly average height?