Never Goin’ Back
If time has proved one thing, it’s that there will always be a market for films like Never Goin’ Back. Two roguish teenagers, Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Cami Morrone), party their week away as they struggle to make rent money and dodge the fallout from their roommates’ ill-fated schemes to get rich quick. The things they want are simple: freedom, independence, respect… oh and drugs. Lots of drugs. Think Harold and Kumar, Withnail & I, but with a gutsy, zany feel and, crucially, women protagonists.
This is Augustine Frizzell’s debut feature film, and her efforts to rejig the genre are admirable. She frames the libertine life in a way that gives these young women a kind of dignity even amidst 85 minutes of toilet humour. She brings justice to the misogynists and rewards the tenacity of these lost-and-found characters. There are moments when she extends her keen eye into a more kooky, farcical cadence for the film, one only wishes there were more such big-laugh moments.
Given the fairly loose structure the movie takes, Mitchell and Morrone shoulder much of the responsibility for keeping audiences cheering them on through their adventures. Their characters are ballsy, confident, but as they play by their own rules they remain strangers to audiences. With a bit more thrust and backstory, Angela and Jessie could be great cult figures, but they are perhaps let down by a lack of depth.
In Never Goin’ Back girls don’t just want to have fun. They want to make it to the beach, to feel the wind in their hair and escape their deadbeat jobs. In the process, they want to put a fresh stamp on the drug-romp. For Augustine Frizzell, this is perhaps a first step, but it is not all the way there.
Never Goin’ Back does not have a UK release date yet.