If it’s a teen high school rom-com with unfunny humour, average performances and a dull story… it must be Netflix.
Tall Girl follows Jodi (Ava Michelle), a “tall girl” who has struggled to go through school without being made fun of, only now she finally finds the confidence to step out of her comfort zone and embrace who she is.
A straightforward premise and familiar story beats are littered throughout Tall Girl as it doesn’t do much to try to break the mould of the genre it sits in. The story is very simple and barebones with many beats you’ve seen before making an appearance at some point. It’s not a good story and it’s very cheesy, but it’s just enough to adequately fill the hour and 41 minute runtime.
The issue with a lot of these Netflix teen films is they become complacent with needing a strong story, and instead, bank on the actors and humour to carry it. Sometimes this works, however, most of the time it doesn’t and this is one of those times. The story feels very flat throughout, there’s no emotion felt through the story. Many of the situations and scenarios facing Jodi aren’t positive, but the story doesn’t do much to really engage you in the character and her journey of growth. It’s disappointing as I feel like the premise could have had some added potential.
When it comes to the performances, there really isn’t much to go on in terms of positives. Lead, Ava Michelle, is actually quite good. She carries the film and the journey her character goes on quite well and for what it’s worth, makes the film endurable. Griffin Gluck, who was stellar in American Vandal is also pretty decent here. He puts in a slightly above average performance alongside Ava and the two of them share some nice moments.
The rest of the performances are where things really fall apart. Sabrina Carpenter, who plays Jodi’s sister Harper, and Clara Wilsey, who plays Jodi’s rival both don’t help the film. Their performances aren’t strong enough to carry any scene on their own and they aren’t fun to watch. Where the film really falls flat is with the male lead performance by Luke Eisner who portrays the Swedish love interest. Nothing about his character is interesting, so the performance feels very lifeless. There’s not much personality to his character, and any glimpse of that feels very forced. The fact that he’s an American playing a Swede doesn’t help as the accent is all over the place. Sometimes it’s on point but 90% of the time it’s a mess.
There aren’t many reasons to check out Tall Girl on Netflix, especially with the range of better content they have on offer. People who can relate to the story may get a little bit more out of it, but it’s bland, cheesy, not funny and doesn’t have the performances to make it enjoyable. Maybe if it stuck with a Swedish actor it would have been that little bit better, but the real issues lie with the story.