Aubrey Plaza’s new coming-of-age comedy film “My Old Ass” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st, garnering plenty of laughs but mixed reviews. The film stars Plaza as a high school English teacher who finds herself the unlikely love interest of a 17-year-old student played by rising star Maisie Stella.
Critical Response Runs the Gamut
Reviews of “My Old Ass” have spanned from gushing praise to scathing critique. Variety calls it “a fearless, taboo-breaking romp that upends cliches at every turn,” while The Hollywood Reporter says Plaza has crafted “a whip-smart and fearlessly funny sexual coming-of-age story.”
However, The New York Post argues that “My Old Ass” is “all premise without the substance or insight to back it up,” lacking a satisfying ending. And The Wrap says “the romance never fully convinces,” hampered by uneven pacing.
Plaza Revels in Playing an Anti-Hero
In interviews, Aubrey Plaza has emphasized her glee in tearing down stereotypes with her “deeply inappropriate” character. As she told Variety, “I had so much fun playing someone who makes all the wrong choices.”
Reviews have highlighted Plaza’s commitment to the tricky role. Vanity Fair raves about her “taut, high-wire performance,” while The Playlist says she “throws herself into the cringe humor with abandon.”
Maisie Stella’s Star Turn
While Aubrey Plaza anchors the film, young actress Maisie Stella has drawn widespread acclaim for her performance as Plaza’s infatuated student. The Hollywood Reporter calls her “a revelation,” showcasing “towering charisma and comic timing.” And Deadline raves, “Stella emerges as a dynamic new presence primed to become 2024’s next big star.”
In the film, Stella displays remarkable chemistry with Plaza, selling the taboo central romance. Their age gap may raise eyebrows, but reviews agree the performers make it work. As Vanity Fair puts it, “Plaza and Stella steam up the screen with their red-hot rapport.”
Justin Bieber’s Surprise Supporting Role
One of the most surprising aspects of “My Old Ass” is Justin Bieber’s hilarious supporting turn as an incompetent vice principal. Though only briefly on screen, Bieber’s performance has widely been singled out as the funniest part of the film.
As Plaza explained to The Hollywood Reporter, Bieber was an early supporter of the project and actively pursued a cameo. “He just wanted to be part of it in any way,” she said. “I couldn’t say no – he killed it!”
|Supporting Cast Member
Reviews agree Bieber gives an inspired performance despite minimal screen time. Both The Daily Beast and The Wrap call his appearance “delightfully random,” while [IndieWire](https://www.indiewire.com/2024/01/justin-bieber-best-supporting-actor-my-old-ass-1234758/’] argues “he steals the film.”
Mixed Prospects for Wider Release
While “My Old Ass” won over many Sundance attendees, its uneven reception may hurt its box office chances. Distributors are likely wary of the risque premise and uneven word of mouth.
However, the star power of Plaza and Bieber could attract mainstream audiences despite the subject matter. And Maisie Stella’s breakout buzz provides another promising selling point. As Variety notes, “If marketed correctly, ‘My Old Ass’ could become a zeitgeisty hit.”
Most prognosticators expect a small-scale theatrical release focused on arthouse crowds, followed by wider streaming distribution. But the film’s unpredictable mixture of scandalous humor and heartfelt character work leaves room for surprise. If audiences embrace its fearless spirit, “My Old Ass” could finds itself the next unlikely indie smash hit.
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