Moxie ★★★½

Quickie Review 
The 2nd directorial effort of Amy Poehler for Netflix following the stale and flat Wine Country, the thespian/producer/writer/awards show favorite once again pulls triple duty as director, producer and co-star in adapting the YA novel about the formation of a feminist group in high school. Relative newcomer Hadley Robinson, last seen in small but prominent roles in Little Women, i'm thinking of ending things and the TV shows “Fosse/Verdon” & “Utopia”, plays Vivian, a shy high schooler who has always kept her head down and never got involved in anything until the arrival of new student Lucy (Alycia Pascaul-Peña), a confident, headstrong young woman who, unlike Vivian, doesn’t take to the way things are in the school, putting her in the crosshairs of resident toxic jock Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Upon witnessing Mitchell’s behavior towards Lucy and emboldened by both Lucy’s take-no-guff approach to not leaving well enough alone and her mom’s (Poehler) rebellious past as a feminist, Vivian decides that the time for contending with the school’s sexist and toxic status quo is over so she anonymously creates “Moxie”, a newsletter that calls out the nastiness of the school’s toxicity and its treatment of the female student body and this causes a majority of the female students of all shapes, sizes, preferences and color to unite against the status quo and fight for a better way of life for the students while helping Vivian build up more confidence in herself. The moment that I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought of 2 things. First, I thought it looked like it was going to be better than Wine Country. Secondly, men who didn’t agree with any views of feminism are going to HATE this movie and probably will review bomb it without having seen the movie. Well, it’s almost better than Wine Country but it does suffer from slightly the same problem that movie faced when it came to its comedic elements, meaning that it could’ve been a lot more stronger. As for how some men will view this movie, those of the male persuasion who’ll go into this movie and then red stamp it as just another piece of “woke” “SJW” “propaganda” will not understand the fact that the sexism and toxic behavior of their fellow man including themselves is part of the problem. The movie is NOT saying that all men are bad or toxic or evil, they’re just saying that we have to do right by women, stand by them and support them, may they be young or old. Still, despite the comedy not quite firing on all cylinders, it’s an enjoyable teen dramedy with some decent direction from Poehler, solid performances from its cast, especially from Robinson, Pascaul-Peña (who stars in Peacock’s new “Saved By The Bell” with Josie Totah, who co-stars in this film as well) & Lauren Tsai (“Legion” and “Terrace House”) and a strong message for young and old alike to stand united for what’s right when there is wrong in front of you and that’s a message for everyone, not just women. Moxie could’ve used a stronger amount of comedy but it’s a enjoyable, progressive and timely YA comedy-drama that fairs better in the entertainment value department than Poehler’s last Netflix film. Give it a watch if you have the time.

Keith liked these reviews