SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER (2018) is a by-the-numbers Netflix romantic comedy
Sierra Burgess is a Loser stars Shannon Purser and Noah Centineo in a romantic comedy about mistaken identity and an unexpected romance.
This is another romantic comedy from Netflix which plays up the cheesiness and goes for a simple by-the-numbers cute story that doesn’t hold much in the realm of surprises. It does have some cute funny moments here and there but the story isn’t engaging and it’s quite slow resulting in the 1 hour 45 minutes feeling like a hefty 2 hours. It really stretches things out and takes its time to move things along in the core relationship which results in entire sections that are quite boring. Disappointingly, it’s a very cut and paste product to the point where you know exactly where it’s going to go. I found myself hoping it took some unexpected turns here and there but aside from some minor moments it really doesn’t. I wasn’t entirely on board with the mistaken identity relationship which was front and centre but I did enjoy some of the themes and messages associated with it. I understand it’s a little cheesy by design but some of the things that happen in here are a little too farfetched and it took me out of the film. Yes I’m criticising it due to believability… sue me. If a film can get me laughing and enjoying the character dynamics I can usually forgive a lacking story, but Sierra Burgess is a Loser fails to offer much in that respect either.
As far as the performances go I can’t knock anyone here as I feel like everyone delivered as well as they could in their respective roles. I like Shannon Purser’s lead performance as Sierra as she puts a good amount of heart into her role really selling some of the more emotional scenes. Noah Centineo’s performance as Jamey is good as he brings an ample amount of charisma to all of his scenes but he’s held back by the fact that I feel like he is miscast. The character of Jamey is weirdly a little trepidatious and hangs out with the ‘losers’ but then at the same time he’s also the quarterback on the school football team and I don’t think Noah Centineo fit the intended vibe for the character. Especially coming hot off the heels of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before maybe another actor could have filled the role better. RJ Cyler is a fantastic young actor who I absolutely loved in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) but he’s very underused here. He’s given a couple of moments to show his comedic prowess but not a whole lot which is a shame. I didn’t find many of the characters entertaining individually and I also didn’t find any of the relationships between characters that much more engaging. The core relationship between Sierra and Veronica (Kristine Froseth) had its moments but even that had me feeling pretty meh.
Being a romantic comedy I expected more comedy to come through, but the movie didn’t have much to offer. There are a couple moments here and there that do get a bit of a chuckle but at the same time there are a lot of attempts at humour that fall completely flat. The dry spells between the successfully comedic moments do get a little boring especially coupled with the fact that the story moves very slow with big moments scarcely spread over the entire runtime. My main issues with the film pretty much all have to do with the writing as the cast are fine and the directing from Ian Samuels holds things together ok. If it was a little tighter and there was a bit more electricity and chemistry between the lead characters I could have bought into it a little more but that’s unfortunately not the case.
Netflix is hit or miss with their original releases especially when it comes to the cute teen romantic comedies. I mean, just look at this last few weeks with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and this, one captures the right amount of heart and emotion and comedy and the other does it on a subpar level. I will say though despite my gripes, it is a decent watch and if you catch it at home on a lazy night you can have a bit of a laugh and admire the cute love story. You won’t be raving about it to anyone the next day but it’s something easy to watch on Netflix without having to get too into the story.