[Disclaimer: I wrote this about a year ago, but figured it should go up here anyway. It has a slightly different style than what most of my reviews will have, in that it really delves into every aspect of the film, but I thought I’d leave it mostly unedited because, well, it’s pretty funny.]
I love to make fun of white people; we’re just so entertainingly dumb sometimes. If you like to watch white people make fools of themselves, watch Jackass. If you want to watch white people make fools of themselves and you hate yourself, watch this!
First of all, let’s talk about the thing we all see before we even decide to queue a film up on Netflix: the title. Let me break it down for you, if you happen to be over the age of 30 or under the age of 16: White girl is not only a caucasian female adolescent, but also slang for cocaine. I’ll be honest, this title is the kind of title I like. It makes perfect sense since the film, as you are about to see, is exclusively about those two things. Unfortunately, the title is just about the only thing that didn’t make me intensely irritated, roll my eyes, or scream at my computer screen “WHY ARE YOU DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING?!”.
The plot of White Girl begins as follows: Leah (Morgan Saylor), the titular white girl, is moving into her new apartment with her friend Katie (India Menuez) just outside New York City. They’re going to college in a few weeks, however, considering the absolute idiocy of our main characters it’s almost a plot hole to say Leah managed to get into any college. Before they even fully unpack, the timers in their heads ding and they decide it’s time for them to stop working and smoke a J. Oh no! They run out of weed, and Leah goes outside to see if their sketchy new neighbours are willing to sell them some. This is where the character Blue (Brian Marc) gets introduced. Why is he called Blue, you ask? “‘Cause I’m always sad.” Clearly we have a brilliant writer on our hands, but we haven’t even gotten started yet. He says no, but the next day he comes to her apartment and smokes with them anyway. His friends would also like to join, but aren’t invited. What a dilemma! They decide to climb the fire escape and break in, which Leah and her friend seem to not be perturbed by whatsoever. So in the third scene we have four complete strangers doing drugs in Leah and Katie’s apartment and they don’t see any problem with this. This is poor decision #1, of about 1000. As it turns out, Blue is a drug dealer, and once again, Leah sees no issue with this, and goes a step further by encouraging him to broaden his business ventures to night clubs in the city where she says he could make a fortune. He’s hesitant, but agrees. They fuck outside.
The next night, they go to a club and Leah does enough cocaine to kill an elephant, all while selling coke and making a ton of money. Blue is excited by the new business opportunity and goes to his supplier, Lloyd (Adrian Martinez), who gives him a ton more to sell. Unfortunately, poor Blue gets busted for possession, leaving Leah with the stash. Logically, Blue tells Leah to return the cocaine to Lloyd, seeing as he can’t sell it anymore. Leah, however, cannot handle the idea that the drug dealer she fell in love with after just a few days is going to be in jail for a while, and has the genius idea to sell the coke so she can afford a good enough lawyer to get him out. Of course, she doesn’t bother telling Blue this, leaving him believing he is going to be behind bars for a while and that everything will be sorted out without him. Why not tell Blue? Well, so the plot can have some dramatic irony at the end, obviously.
Leah meets with a lawyer (Chris Noth) who says he can make a decent enough case exonerating Blue, but the price is hefty. Leah says she’ll have the money, and he reluctantly believes her.
At this point I would like to introduce the character of Kelly (Justin Bartha). He’s shown up already in the story, but I don’t believe him to be relevant until now. Kelly is Leah’s boss at some unnamed magazine that Leah writes (read: twiddles her thumbs) for. His favourite pastime, like every single other person in this movie, is doing cocaine, as well as performing some serious sexual exploitation. He often does those two things with Leah, despite Kelly being the generic asshole boss who happens to be attractive enough for Leah to want him inside her. If you don’t see the pattern already, Leah will have sex with any man that so much as glances in her general direction. Kelly immediately comes off as the villain of the film: arrogant, little respect for women, does a ton of cocaine (although if that’s what makes a character a villain every character in the movie is Hans Gruber), and just has a general attitude that seems like he would roofie an underage girl.
Coming back to the main plot, Leah is seen (surprise!) doing copious amounts of cocaine (yes, the cocaine she is trying to sell), while also selling a ton at the nightclub, aided by Kelly and one of Leah’s other friends who is so inconsequential I won’t even bother naming her. The cocaine finally catches up with her and she… Whites out? Whatever the cocaine equivalent of blacking out is. She wakes up hungover but somehow not dead, and heads over to her apartment where she finds Kelly and Katie.
At some point in the movie while Blue is in jail I am 100% sure Leah has sex with Kelly, I just forget when, and I am absolutely not going back and watching White Girl again to find out.
They’re all uppity about all the money they made the night before. $24000. That’s right, even though these three people were so high it was a miracle they could even manage brain activity they finagled $24000. Finally Leah’s drug mistakes catch up with her and she realizes she doesn’t have a dime on her, leaving them bereft of coke and money. Too bad, so sad, looks like Blue isn’t getting out of jail.
But wait! Remember how the entire plot of the movie is that Leah has to get money for a lawyer? Well how about fuck the plot and have the lawyer do it for free! Because why not spend over half the film trying to get something that ends up being completely inconsequential to the main plot?
Leah pulls off her best puppy dog eyes and the lawyer decides to do the job pro bono. Have you noticed something odd about the lawyer yet? That’s right, he hasn’t done a SINGLE BIT of cocaine yet! Well, he does not disappoint. He takes Leah out to dinner, then they have a night of doing cocaine together. Once again Leah gets high out of her mind, and the lawyer ends up raping her as she’s half unconscious. So far the tally of redeemable characters is at absolute zero. Spoilers: it actually goes up to one.
The trial happens off screen and Blue gets out of jail. The two stardust crossed lovers are reunited, and Blue does the one thing a character should never, ever do when there’s still fifteen minutes left in a movie and it’s starting to seem like happily ever after: He asks Leah to marry him. She says yes, and they take a stroll.
Wait a second, aren’t we forgetting something? Didn’t Leah lie to Blue for flimsy plot reasons about returning the giant stash of coke to Lloyd? Oh shit, I sure hope this doesn’t have any consequences!
It does. Lloyd shows up to greet Blue with a hammer? Screwdriver? Toy car? The camera is too shaky to get a good look. While Lloyd is yelling incomprehensibly at Leah for god knows why, Blue finds a conveniently placed bottle and smashes it over Lloyd’s head repeatedly until he is very, very dead. Blue and Leah stand around looking at each other, and either Blue is completely unaware of what he just did or doesn’t know how to move his legs because he doesn’t even bother to move before the cops show up. He could have at least tried to get away, right? I mean, he’s gonna be jailed for murder and has a history of arrests, he’s likely going away for the rest of his life, he has absolutely nothing to lose. So he goes off to the slammer once again, leaving Leah sad and lonely.
That’s it. That’s the entire plot. Are you happy? I’m not, and you shouldn’t be. This story has possibly the stupidest, most irredeemable and despicable main characters I have ever seen come across my computer screen. Every single bad thing in this movie happens directly because of something Leah did. Let’s list as many of those things as we can: First, she tells Blue he should expand to clubs in the city. At the time it may have seemed like an okay idea, but it ultimately led to every issue they had. Second, she gets insanely high while making a ridiculous amount of cash, leading to her losing both the money and all the cocaine she was supposed to return to Lloyd. Third, she tells Blue the tiny little useless lie, saying the lawyer was going to do the job for free and she had returned the coke. This directly leads to him going to jail for life. That’s right, Leah completely ruins a man’s life over the course of just TWO WEEKS. I gotta hand it to her, that’s downright impressive. .
Not only did she make decisions that ruined someone’s life, she also performed the most backwards acts I have ever seen. While going to great lengths to get her boyfriend out of prison, she is going around sleeping with every guy that brushes past her or accidentally makes eye contact with her. How is this possibly logical writing? You intend to write a character the audience is supposed to root for, and then make her the most backwards thinking sex and drug addicted entitled prick the world has ever seen? Now that is backwards.
If it wasn’t clear already, I believe the only tolerable character who is even remotely morally redeemable is Blue. Despite him being a drug dealer, he is a genuine and caring person, who happened to fall in love with a natural disaster. I’m even willing to look past him murdering Lloyd, since it was strictly because he was defending the girl he loved. Compared to Leah (and every other male character for that matter) he’s Prince Charming.
Let’s take a break from the insufferable plot and characters to talk about the acting. In all honesty, Morgan Saylor is perfectly cast. She does the whole “generic white girl” thing absolutely impeccably. That isn’t to say she’s actually a good actress, all I’m saying is that she gives the most generic and obnoxious performance possible, which is exactly what the script calls for. The typical white girl is usually the subject of a lot of jokes or memes, either for being “basic”, complaining about their first world problems, or wearing Uggs. Saylor has transcended this stereotype, and… well, instead of that, she (say it with me) does cocaine and bangs dudes 24/7. It’s possible Saylor didn’t even know she was in a movie. Maybe the director said to her, “here’s some cocaine and a handful hot guys, do what you’d like.” Let’s just say we won’t be seeing Morgan Saylor alongside Ryan Gosling anytime soon, or anything for that matter. Except maybe White Girl 2 (god forbid!).
Blue, on the other hand, is the one saving grace of the movie in terms of acting as well. Brian Marc’s performance is subdued and not a caricature of a human being like everyone else “acting” in this movie. Despite his trying-to-be-sexy-but-ends-up-boring counterpart, Marc manages to eke out a more than passable job, turning what could have been a completely one note unlikeable anti-hero into a character I actually enjoyed watching. His most amiable trait was definitely his believability. Like I said, he’s the only character that actually acts like a person in his situation would act. Although I still find it hard to believe Blue would even go near a complete imbecile like Leah, let alone fall in love with her, that’s not Marc’s fault, he didn’t write this garbage fire.
All the other actors range from bordering on tolerable to me groaning every time they enter the frame. India Menuez plays a passive and boring Katie, and she never gives her character any purpose, resulting in a performance that could be rivalled by a balloon with a girl’s face drawn on. When it comes to Justin Bartha’s Kelly, I was anxiously anticipating a scene in which it cuts to him tying a woman to some train tracks and chuckling, “Nyeh, see!”. He plays a character that seems like he’s supposed to be a villain, but I don’t think that’s what the writers were thinking. Let me tell you what I believe went down on set:
Bartha: “So this Kelly, he’s the main villain, and plays a huge role in the story, right?
Director: “Um, no, Kelly is a pretty small role. Just act like you’re a generic asshole boss.”
Bartha: “What was that? My motivation is world domination by way of banging girls half my age?”
Director: “Excuse me? World domination has literally nothing to do with this movie, and definitely not your character.”
Bartha: “Great! Old Spaghetti Western villain! Gotcha!”
Director: “Wha–OK, fine, but only because you played Doug in The Hangover. We need at least someone in this shitty cast with acting experience.”
Needless to say, every other actor in this movie fails to make any lasting impact on me or the plot, and therefore I’m not gonna waste yours or my time talking about them. By now I’m fairly sure you get the idea.
If you have at least half a brain, you need to stay away from this movie, stay far, far away. Do not see it has 5 stars on Netflix and think “hey, this looks fun”. Do not look at the 65 on metacritic and think that the green square around the number validates a viewing. And under no circumstances should you ever, ever, watch this movie sober. If you ignored all my previous warnings, you’re probably already high, so that shouldn’t be a problem. In that case, enjoy your trip!