Two high-school girls get a firsthand lesson in the downsides of revolution in The Outcasts, Peter Hutchings‘ peppy vision of the meek inheriting the Earth, or at least the campus of a high school. Eden Sher and Victoria Justice make sympathetic protagonists for a story that owes nearly everything to a million high school comedies before it; their likability is unlikely to carry the pic far, even in the digital arena.
Sher and Justice play science-geek Mindy and would-be songwriter Jodi, both struggling under the Queen Bee dominance of blonde meanie Whitney (Claudia Lee). After an attempt to reason with their persecutor goes awry in humiliating fashion, they decide to survive bullying by “beating those fascists at their own game.”
Amiable but underwhelming.
They enlist leaders of various misfit factions (the cloak-wearing Tolkien freak, the Steve Jobs-worshiping Asian-American) to form an alliance of cliques, and for a brief moment, they enjoy a nerd utopia: Their freak-flag weekend party, with bouncy-house Twister and cosplay, looks vastly more fun than the covert keggers of yesteryear.
But then the yearning for liberation turns to a lust for revenge, and new dictatorial impulses emerge. Dominique Ferrari and Suzanne Wrubel’s screenplay has no interest in the history/politics-based comedic possibilities here (if it’s not related to the Periodic Table, they’re not interested in allusions to actual schoolwork), and in the absence of sharp writing, all the movie really has to go on is our interest in its heroes — who, happily, are a touch less generic than their surroundings.
Production company: BCDF Pictures
Distributor: Swen Group
Cast: Eden Sher, Victoria Justice, Claudia Lee, Frank Whaley, Avan Jogia, Peyton List, Jazmyn Richardson, Ashley Rickards, Katie Chang, Ted McGinley
Director: Peter Hutchings
Screenwriters: Dominique Ferrari, Suzanne Wrubel
Producers: Brice Dal Farra, Claude Dal Farra, Brian Keady
Executive producers: Victoria Bousis, Glenn W. Garland, Christian Mercuri, Lauren Munsch, Russ Rossi
Director of photography: John Thomas
Production designer: Dan Leigh
Costume designer: Anney Perrine
Editor: Jeffrey Wolf
Composer: Spencer David Hutchings
Casting directors: Henry Russell Bergstein, Allison Estrin
PG-13, 94 minutes