‘The Re-Education of Molly Singer’ Relies on Tropes Rather Than Satire

Ulises Duenas


Party college movies haven’t gone away, but when a new one hits the screen, you have to wonder what it could possibly do to mix up the formula. The Re-Education of Molly Singer opts to add some post-college existential dread to try and keep it fresh. The result is a comedy that has a decent amount of laughs and clever lines, yet falls victim to genre tropes and plot bloat.


Molly Singer (Britt Robertson) was a party girl in her college days and now that she’s floundering as a lawyer in a fancy firm, she questions if her best years are truly behind her. After missing a court date, her boss (Jaime Pressly) gives her a do-or-die mission: to help her son Elliot (Ty Simpkins) become popular on campus during his freshman year at college. Molly accepts the challenge, and brings along her stereotypical gay bff and from there, it’s a pretty standard “make the awkward kid cool” kind of movie. 



The biggest problem with this movie is that it fools the audience into thinking it’s not going through all the tired tropes of the genre before it runs out of steam and starts reciting cliches as if they were mandatory. The kid Molly is trying to help is meek, but he has a good heart and he’s being bullied by the head of a fraternity. Along the way, he charms the girl he has a crush on with his good nature, while Molly mentors him. Eventually, Elliot learns of Molly’s ruse and is upset before eventually forgiving her and his mom. It’s all drawn out for two long hours, which is a shame because there are some truly clever scenes.


The movie, much like Molly’s character, tries to have its cake and eat it too. Even though there are scenes that poke fun at frats and the college party lifestyle, the film – perhaps inadvertently -- also shows those things in a positive light. I wish the script leaned more into the satire it’s clearly capable of, instead of relying on tired conventions. Aside from that, the events of the last 20 or so minutes feel tacked on and bring any momentum the movie had to a screeching halt. By the end, it all wraps up with the stereotypical narration as Molly tells the viewer she learned that her best years are actually ahead of her. 



If The Re-Education of Molly Singer was more consistent with its jokes and witty moments, I would highly recommend it, but it just doesn’t have enough substance to keep it interesting through its two-hour runtime. The cast puts in a good enough performance; it’s just that the script doesn’t have enough unique tricks up its sleeve to make this a true success.



Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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