Movie Review: ‘Status Update’

Review by Bradley Smith

I love math. Grew up working math problems for fun. Loved numbers so much that I decided to pursue accounting during my junior year of high school; let’s ignore that it was some 15 years later before I became an accountant. But I digress. One thing I love about math is formulas. And speaking of formulas, Status Update.

Yes, the new film, Status Update, follows a fairly predictable supernatural-musical-high-school-comedy formula: high school student gains the ability to magically change his life as he wishes; while the changes seem good at first, he soon pushes the magic too far and starts to hurt himself and those who care for him; and in the end he realizes what/who is most important in his life. It’s a fun and cheesy, albeit predictable, formula: “you’re coming to my party this weekend, right? Of course I am” you know he won’t be at the party.

In this film, the magic method is a very modern app, dubbed “Universe”, on Kyle Moore’s (Ross Lynch; Teen Beach Movie, Austin & Ally) phone. Anything Kyle posts to “Universe” becomes reality, a power he quickly starts to abuse. But, like any wish in a movie like this, he has to be careful how he phrases his posts, or an attempt to be the world’s greatest hockey player could turn him into the world’s greatest figure skater.

Of course, the formula isn’t complete without an outcast best friend and a love interest. Lonnie (Harvey Guillen; The Internship) is the former, having no friends until Kyle moves to town and the two somehow start to bond until, naturally, Kyle screws it up and has to make amends. Olivia Holt plays the latter, Dani. She’s part of a high school musical group, so Kyle tries to impress her by using the Universe app to give himself musical abilities, leading to both an enjoyable musical number or two and more lessons in being careful what you wish for and be true to yourself.

As I stated earlier, Status Update is cheesy and predictable. The characters vary on like-ability and believability; i.e. the movie features Famke Janssen chasing after Kyle (due to one of many thoughtless status updates). But, if you go along with the insanity, it’s a decent modern take on an oft told story and the lesson about social media is one people should hear, that social media is only the “best” of people that they want you to see. Overall, I liked Status Update and I’d probably mildly recommend it; especially to a younger audience that is growing up with social media and may not have heard these lessons already.

Available now on demand and digital and in select theaters.

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