Hannah Vanderhooft – Staff Writer
Tall Girl is a movie about Jodi—a 6’2” high school girl who wears size 13 Nike’s—and how she has been victimized her entire life because of that. I really thought that we were done with this franchise after a 57 percent score from Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 1.4 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd, but the Feb. 11 release of Tall Girl 2 proved me wrong.
The movie begins with a brief recap from the first installment of the franchise: Jodi has always been tall for her age, so she never fit in. She has a whirlwind romance with a Swedish foreign exchange student and neglects her short, guy best friend, Dunkleman, who has been in love with her for her entire life. Spoiler: They get together at the end of the movie. (Thank you, Netflix, for normalizing women being taller in relationships.)
Fast forward to the second film and Jodi and Dunkleman are dating, Jodi has more friends, and for once in her life, everything seems to be going right. Everything is so right, in fact, that she decides to try out for the school musical, Bye, Bye Birdie. Jodi beats out the popular girl for the lead role.
Unlike the first movie, this film spends much less time focused on Jodi’s height, but instead deals with the idea of self-worth and silencing the voice of doubt inside one’s mind. Because Jodi has never been popular and always dealt with people bullying her, the first movie dealt with external doubt. This story shows her dealing with internal doubt and low confidence.
The biggest problem with this movie is how many different directions it tries to take. While Jodi is the main character, it attempts to tell the story of Jodi’s sister, her best friend, the Swedish exchange student, and her brief breakup with Dunkleman. Jodi’s role in Bye, Bye Birdie is easy to forget during all the moving parts. With a 97-minute run time, Tall Girl 2 felt like a story that a group of college freshmen co-wrote in an introductive creative writing class. The story needed a few more workshops before hitting the big screen.
Tall Girl 2 tried to be a commentary on standing tall (no pun intended) and shutting down the voice of doubt inside of you. But it did not hit the mark—the exposition remained surface-level and gave cheap answers to the struggles of mental health. The problems the characters faced lacked depth, making it hard to invest in any of the various storylines taking place.
True to form, its subpar acting mirrored most Netflix Original movies. The delivery of lines from Jodi and her cohorts felt like a bad short film, but in their favor, the script wasn’t helping at all. It felt like it was written by a group of millennials who think they know how high schoolers act and talk, using abrasive slang and catch phrases that I’ve only heard people use ironically.
Apart from the poor script, mediocre acting, and terrible pacing of this movie, I have a hard time justifying the idea behind it. As a white woman who is 6’2”, I can promise you that tall women are not an oppressed demographic. In my experience, the only bad thing about being tall is finding jeans and being asked if you play volleyball.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted movie and something to laugh at with your friends, this is your movie. Don’t go into it too excited or with high expectations. They will be crushed.