Re-education of Molly Singer (2023)

‘Education’ is a lesson in stupidity

Insipid doesn’t begin to describe the astoundingly awful “The Re-Education of Molly Singer.” That “education” is a part of its title is a massive insult to academia. And at two hours, it’s tantamount to torture.

Surely, it’s not that bad, you say. Oh, believe me, it is! It’s rancid to the core, with legit actors like Britt Robertson, Jaime Pressly and Ty Simpkins abetting director Andy Palmer in a kamikaze attack on intelligence. And what utter irony that the setting for something this brainless is a college campus! It’s as if they are inviting ridicule. Well, since you asked…

It begins in a law office, where Robertson’s Molly Singer has exhausted the patience of her boss, Pressly’s Brenda, due to an inability to grow up and accept responsibility. Her latest all-nighter spent carousing in bars and taverns of a nameless American city has resulted in her oversleeping, and thus, missing a morning court hearing. How Molly bagged the job in the first place is a head-scratcher. But more perplexing is why Brenda strikes a severance deal with Molly just as she’s heading out the door.

You see, Brenda’s painfully shy 18-year-old son, Elliot (Simpkins, “Jurassic World”), is a complete loser in the eyes of his peers. He needs coaching, Brenda believes, in how to be a man. Having failed to ignite his libido by treating him to a night out at a lap dance club, she calls on Molly to convert Elliot into one of the guys. The plan is for Molly to pose as a student at the teen’s college — and Molly’s alma mater — take him under her wing, teach him how to booze it up and get him laid. If successful, Molly gets her job back.

Obviously, no self-respecting mother would do such a thing. Yet that doesn’t discourage alleged writers Warner Davis and Todd M. Friedman from adopting it as their central premise. It’s just the beginning of a rampant escalation of implausibilities and crude incidents of boys being boys and coeds being reduced to mere sex objects. So retro 1980s! It’s as if #MeToo never happened.

Sophomoric doesn’t begin to describe what transpires, with the writers resorting to vomit, poop and penis jokes in service to what, I’m not sure. There’s no real story apart from the high-concept set-up, and zero attempt to develop characters outside of types: the muscle-brained jock; the lovely, amorous girl next door, who literally lives next door; and the bitchy, spiteful woman seeking revenge on Molly for past transgressions.

Given the minuscule IQ of the script, it’s no wonder the actors barely lift a finger in an attempt to sell it. Robertson looks glamorous in her vast array of mini dresses and clingy trousers, but her allure is no match for her stilted acting. And Simpkins plays Elliot as such an oblivious dweeb, you practically root for his doltish frat brothers to pummel him. Spoiler alert: They do – often.

The real stars are the brewskies, with one elongated scene featuring the “beer decathlon,” which apparently is a contest to determine the worth of a man based on how much alcohol he can consume. Oddly, the sex is held to a bare minimum, with zero nudity and not a single thrust. This is college, people! Act like you’ve been there.

Of course, no mindless “comedy” would be complete without the stereotypical gay bestie. Comedian Nico Santos draws that short stick. Although lending the film a spark of energy, his character is little more than a heap of clichés and garish outfits, an added accessory to Molly’s chic urban look. If the writers had paid as much attention to detail as costume designer Tora Eff, they might have upped the film’s appeal a notch or two. As it stands, they’ve unleashed nothing beyond an instrument for wasting two hours of our already too-short lives. Let that be a lesson.

Movie review

The Re-Education of Molly Singer

Rated: R for pervasive language, some drug use, sexual content

Cast: Britt Robertson, Ty Simpkins, Nico Santos, Cierra Ramirez and Jaime Pressly.

Director: Andy Palmer

Writers: Warner Davis and Todd M. Friedman

Runtime: 2 hours

Grade: D-

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