Before I Fall, C
Rated PG-13, 99 minutes
"Before I Fall" is a teen-angsty version of "Groundhog Day," except it's much less fun, with Bill Murray nowhere in sight. There are a handful of charming moments and its intentions are good, but you'll see where it's going early on; while the lead character is stuck in some crappy time loop, the audience is forced watching the crappy movie version of it.
Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) is a young woman who has it all: the crush-worthy boyfriend, amazing best friends and drop dead gorgeous looks. February 14 is just another charmed day in Sam's life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day during one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery surrounding her death and discovers the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
The simplistic, uninspired "Before I Fall" is directed by Ry Russo-Young ("Nobody Walks") with a script by Maria Maggenti ("Pucchini for Beginners"), though it could've easily been written by Nicholas Sparks, based on the tragic turns the plot takes, with a brave, though exceedingly depressing for this genre, ending that also may leave you scratching your head.
Real teen drama is enough to see one time, much less having to relive it over and over again. The lovely Deutch is charming as Samantha, but she fights with her friends, has boy problems, and hates her parents, so what else is new, right? Exactly. During the process of reliving this, she learns to appreciate life more by being nice to the outcast (Elena Kampouris, the film's most believable part) and the the sarcastic lesbian (Liv Hewson), as well as hugging her Mom ("Flashdance's" Jennifer Beals, in case you wondered what she's up to) a few times. In other words, don't be a brat, or you'll be forced to relive the same freakin' day - pretty basic, it seems.
Director Russo-Young is a bright newcomer and can do better than this, and writer Maggenti must've envisioned something a tad darker and more substantive than the piece of fluff that is "Before I Fall," which is peppered with a few decent alt-rock songs on its soundtrack that feel much cooler than the film itself. The young set will likely appreciate it most, but it still comes across as trite.