Tuesday, 20 February 2018

'Status Update' Review

Family problems mean that Kyle Moore (Ross Lynch) has had to move across the country due to his parent's separation. Settling in at a new school isn't going well until Kyle goes to get his phone fixed at a local mall. In doing so, an app called Universe is put on his phone and anything he posts will come true, giving Kyle the ability to make whatever he wants to come true. 

It's safe to say that after seeing the trailer and poster for this film, my expectations were not very high when it came to seeing Status Update. The target audience for this film is undoubtedly teens, with its high school settings, heavy use of social media and young Disney channel related actors. With this, the film has a responsibility to put out something that isn't particularly harmful for the young viewers despite the overall quality. Although the film is terrible in its own right - we'll get to that later - but the biggest crime is how the film represents many things such as sexuality and use of social media.

If there was ever an example of how diversity in film shouldn't be handled, it would be Status Update. The film features a fairly diverse cast and group of characters but it is how they are represented and how they act that is the problem. The minority characters in this film are delegated to being losers, jerks or carry out terrible actions. This most evident comes with the homosexual character in the film who is handled terribly. It's hard to believe that nobody saw a problem in production around this representation. The gay character in this film is insultingly stereotyped, violent and sexually assaults the main character. This is all played off as humour to make things worse and it is shocking to see that this was carried out. Sexual assault is apparent again in the film and again, its played off as humourous. Maybe it's just the current climate but I certainly don't think this should be something that's made a joke of, especially when targeting to young impressionable people.

The film could have clawed back some humility if it even had a valuable message about the use of social media but it even fails miserably at that. Obviously, the use of social media is the main aspect of the film but the film seems to take away from the severity of actions online. In a particular scene featuring main character Kyle and his mother, she seems to talk to him about how what he posts isn't that significant and takes away from the effects in real life. Again, with the targeted demographic, this is a terrible message to be sending out to the intended target audience. This part really surprised me the most as the film's concept is the abuse of a social media app but yet, the film doesn't do anything to really nail that message. 

Although the harmful and offensive aspects of the film may be out of the way, the film's quality does not get any better. We follow Kyle Moore, a teenager whose parents are separated and he wishes his life could go back to normal. Now, this film gives Kyle the opportunity to wish for whatever he wants but he doesn't really do that at all. He makes vague changes to his problems when he has the problem to solve them entirely. In all honesty, this just makes the character seem fairly stupid. To top this off, the writing of the film makes him completely unlikeable in part reason to that. He has this ability to do as he wants but he focuses on different things. I know you have no movie if the character just does everything perfectly but there is nothing to gravitate you to liking or caring for this character. Olivia Holt's character is the only character worth caring for but the problem is that shes tossed to the side easily only to forgive Kyle once he decides he's sick of being with someone else.

There are musical numbers in this film that feel incredibly awkward and not organic at all. There's a full scene where Kyle sings and dances like Bruno Mars as the whole school turns into the cast of High School Musical. This isn't a fantasy scene or anything and is played off to be real but the film isn't a musical. With this, the whole scene is incredibly cringe-inducing and lasts for far too long. The main song of the film 'Drowning' does look to claw some dignity back to the film but it is again let down by the fact that it doesn't seem genuine. A few catchy musical numbers can go along way in making a film somewhat enjoyable, yet there's no sense of personality or emotion in any of these moments to give you that feeling. Instead, it just wastes more time and makes the film seem even more soulless.

It's no surprise to see that there is little information regarding Status Update online at the moment. It doesn't seem to have had a wide release which may be a good thing. To those who look at this film and think it may be a fun film to pass the time with, don't waste your time. This film certainly does much more harm than good and really should be avoided at all costs.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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