NOT OKAY (DISNEY+) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch), an aimless aspiring writer with no friends, no romantic prospects and — worst of all — no followers, fakes an Instagram-friendly trip to Paris in the hopes of boosting her social media clout. When a terrifying incident strikes the City of Lights, Danni unwittingly falls into a lie bigger than she ever imagined. She "returns" a hero, even striking up an unlikely friendship with Rowan (Mia Isaac), a real trauma survivor dedicated to societal change, and scooping up the man of her dreams Colin (Dylan O'Brien). As an influencer and advocate, Danni finally has the life and audience she always wanted. But it’s only a matter of time before the façade cracks, and she learns the hard way that the Internet loves a takedown.
Not Okay has an unlikeable female protagonist in which the movie warns you upfront. It’s both a satire and a dark comedy, most of all a fitting statement on the power of social media.
Zoey Deutch who also dons a producer hat plays Danni Sanders, a privileged white girl working as a photo editor at an online magazine outfit called Depravity. She is lonely, she craves to be a writer although her boss thinks otherwise and she wants to be noticed by her crush, a vaping influencer named Colin (Dylan O’Brien).
While under the influence of marijuana one day, Danni stumbles upon an idea to impress Colin. Danni lies about an upcoming writers retreat in Paris and started photoshopping herself in front of several famous Parisian landmarks on her social media. But when terrorist attacks occurred throughout Paris, Danni fakes herself as a terrorist survivor garnering media attention and befriending an anti-guns activist, Rowan Aldren (Mia Isaac) at a trauma support group.
Quinn Shephard’s sophomore feature is a decent piece on a terrible human character. For the sake of becoming someone famous, Danni has no qualms resorting to turning the voices of others to her own. And of course, the internet can make you famous and it can also destroy you as well in which the flick is trying to address. However from the perspective of Rowan, a real trauma survivor, the story feels more grounded and believable. And Mia Isaac truly puts in yet another solid performance after Don’t Make Me Go.
Danni Sanders on the other hand lacks a certain credibility in the end even though the story paints her as coming to her senses midway and then loses her marbles again. Maybe Shephard isn’t out to make her a terrible human being after all. There’s a feeble attempt in making a redemption arc for her but the flick ends too abruptly to make any sense out of it.
Not Okay is an okay enough movie that spoke out on the absurdities of today’s society where success, popularity is measured by the number of likes. There are flashes of brilliance though there are parts of that are far too overlong. The opening which has Danni conversing with her boss is excellent and how we wished the entire movie was as sharp as this. Still, Zoey Deutch is more than likeable enough to play an unlikeable character and a bleached Dylan O’Brien did his best portraying a stoner given his limited screentime.
Review by Linus Tee