Starring: Victoria Justice, Eden Sher, Ashley Rickards
Director: Peter Hutchings
Running Time: 95 mins
The Outcasts is an American film about a group of nerds who, after having been publicly humiliated at a party by their high school’s popular class, set about launching a revolution to overhaul the school hierarchy once and for all.
Take Mean Girls and Revenge Of The Nerds, and you have The Outcasts. Centring on the most formulaic sort of high school story, and doing very little to distance itself from other movies in the genre, the film is an incredibly generic and generally very dull watch from beginning to end. With underwhelming performances throughout, as well as a real lack of ingenuity, there’s little to really grab onto here, despite a couple of genuinely good jokes and heartfelt moments here and there.
I’ll start off by saying that this film knows it’s not the greatest high school movie since The Breakfast Club, and is just there to be a nice bit of fun. As for who the target audience is, I’m not entirely sure. It has the appearance and atmosphere of a Nickelodeon film, which would suggest a target audience of 6-10 year olds, but some parts of the story are surely a little too much for viewers that young, giving it the feel of something directed more at tweens aged 11-14 or so.
Whatever the target audience is, it’s definitely not a film that’s going to rivet adults. Above all, it’s the fact that the story is just so generic. While films like Revenge Of The Nerds focus on the high school hierarchy, they do it with enough energy and imagination to make themselves feel a little bit different to the typical affair, not to mention far better comedy and more entertaining characters.
The Outcasts, however, focuses on the high school hierarchy as if it’s actually something of consequence, and even though many of the characters throw in the generic ‘none of this will matter once you graduate’ line, I really didn’t feel as if the film actually believed that, instead seeing its characters attempt to overhaul what they see as a genuinely important construct, but one that anyone over the age of 16 will see as incredibly trivial and dull.
In that, the story is very predictable, and combined with the overall lack of interesting characters or consistently good comedy, there’s very little to care about or enjoy with this movie. It is short, and it is fortunately light-hearted enough to make the time pass fairly quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’s a movie that deserves all that much praise, and definitely isn’t something that I’d highly recommend.
However, as generic and dull as the majority of the film is, I have to say that I was impressed with two (admittedly very small) elements. For one, there are a good few jokes that made me laugh here. While there’s nothing particularly intelligent or original to make you really love the gags, the few genuinely funny moments are a really welcome break from the rest of the movie, which I was delighted to see.
What’s more is that the film featured one particular scene that I found really surprising and heartfelt. It’s only short and not really of that much consequence, but it centres on one girl telling another that she’s gay. Now, that may not seem like anything particularly special, but what impressed me about it was the fact that it didn’t make a big song and dance about that, but was instead a very normal and reserved part of the movie that wasn’t anywhere near as cheesy as your generic confessions of love, but also didn’t try to show off about how progressive it was, something I really appreciated.
Overall, however, it’s fair to say that The Outcasts is really nothing special. Apart from one very heartfelt scene and a couple of good jokes throughout, it’s a very generic and dull watch from start to finish, combining the most predictable elements from high school movies through the years, and not really doing anything more to make itself stand out, which is why I’m giving it a 6.0.