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Eighth Grade

Director:  Bo Burnham
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  1.5

Middle school student Kayla (Elsie Fisher) doesn't have any friends, barks at her own very patient single father (Josh Hamilton) and makes YouTube videos "giving advice" she doesn't exactly follow herself ... and she's trying to figure out how to have relationships with boys. I guess 28-year-old stand-up comedian Burnham, best known for his theatrical productions, is working from his own experiences as a teenage girl with a crush on the class jerk ... but instead of using his comedic skills to provide some laughs (the banana gag is weak), he's trying to be Todd Solondz: there's one ungraceful moment after another, and Kayla, his lead, is a petulant brat who causes a lot of her own problems (Burnham confuses "uncomfortable" with "truthful"). There is a scene later on - Kayla in the back seat of a car with Riley (Daniel Zolghadri) - that is handled with expert discretion, but if he plans on having a long-term place behind the camera he should work on making better choices (Enya?) and not offer up such easy endings ("it's all better now!").

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