It's hard not to see Booksmart as a distaff variation on 2007's Superbad, since it's about two nerdy high schoolers hell-bent on having one legitimately wild night before graduation; since it aims to balance absurdist comedy with sincere coming-of-age drama; and since, let's face it, Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein is the lookalike kid sister of Superbad star Jonah Hill.
If Superbad felt like a 2000s spin on teenage sex comedy tropes, Booksmart belongs squarely in 2019, where our protagonists Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) attend a Los Angeles-area school that is magically unprejudiced: not a soul teases the full-figured Molly about her weight; no one has an issue with Amy being a lesbian. If they are disliked by their classmates, it's only because both girls are too studious, and have shunned social activity in order to focus on academic and social justice pursuits.
On the penultimate day of senior year, however, Yale-bound valedictorian Molly discovers, to her shock, that all her insipid party-hardy classmates are also, in fact, headed for Ivy League schools. She is mortified by this news: all her Friday nights studying in the library were for nothing, when she and Amy could have been having fun instead. And thus, like their Superbad forebears, the two girls are determined to spend the last night of high school at the biggest party in town. If only they can find out where it is.
Booksmart's comedy is hit and miss, and despite a couple of plot twists, it's ultimately predictable stuff. But its leading ladies are so damn likable, and the film's perspective so fresh, that you can forgive its imperfections. I'm not sure you could seriously classify any raunchy high school comedy as truly brilliant cinema, but Booksmart is just as good as, and often better than, anything in the genre that came before it.