Tall Girl 2 Review: Infuriatingly Terrible



Still image of Jodi in Tall Girl 2

Gavin Clingham, Staff Writer

So I did not think this movie would ever exist. I pretty much thought that the first film, that became known as the laughing-stock of the internet, Tall Girl, would be a one and done for Netflix. I thought it’d be one bad film that would soon disappear in the long Netflix scroll. But then came the announcement in April of 2021. As I sat with my jaw dropped to the floor and my faith in humanity hitting rock bottom, I had one simple question in my head: Why? Why would Netflix put money to make a follow-up to a film that was ruthlessly torn to shreds on the Internet? I came to realize that the barrage of hate-watching Tall Girl was seen as a barrage of views. But Netflix clearly took it the wrong way, mistaking the film for a cultural phenomenon, because the official Netflix Instagram account did so much promotion for this film. Seriously, the account will sometimes never acknowledge films coming out no matter how great they are, but the account did a truckload of posting about this film. So I sat down with my dog, threw on my Parasite shirt because irony can be so painful, and turned Tall Girl 2 on to see what all the stress was about. And somehow, it was even worse than I thought.

You think your life is hard? Jodi (Ava Michelle) is a high school junior wearing size 13 Pumas (switched from Nikes thanks to a generous product placement). Sorry, mens size 13 Pumas. However, now she has an even bigger issue than anything you could possibly be going through: she’s been cast as the lead in her high school’s musical. Now she tries to vanquish the bully in her head that is stopping her from rehearsing in a musical we rarely see her rehearse for (we get one montage and nothing else). She now tries to achieve this feat which pretty much becomes a mere side plot to another problem. In actuality, she’s trying to juggle her new feelings for her co-star Tommy (Jan Luiz Castellanos), while trying (not really) to not cheat on her boyfriend Jack (Griffin Gluck). Beat that.

Jodi and Dunk in a totally healthy and non-toxic relationship. (decider.com)

So this film immediately tries to address audiences’ problems with the first movie. It does this by yelling at them saying, “you’re ignorant and the scum of the earth.” They have a scene in the movie where a character basically says what everyone was thinking after the first movie by asking, “what about people who are homeless, starving, or in danger?” Then the person saying this says that “those are real problems, not being tall.” While I kind of liked that they addressed this, I hated it because they completely misunderstood what everyone was saying about the first movie. It wasn’t that we all believed that being tall isn’t an insecurity or a problem; it’s just the six deadly words that completely overshadow this issue: “You think your life is hard.” It’s the fact that the film claims that it has superiority over any kind of problem that a person could have. It feels like it’s saying that bullying isn’t a thing for anyone except tall people, which is not good at all. And I think everyone can agree that we’d be more forgiving if Jodi wasn’t such a terrible person. 

Every conversation she has with any other characters in this movie has to revolve solely around her. She continually asserts that anyone she speaks can’t understand what she’s going through. Even her sister’s problems basically get sidelined in order for Jodi to get help to stop her bully. It’s even worse as everyone around her is made to be her servant. She turns her boyfriend into a personal butler and basically cheats on him, her best friend Fareeda (Anjelika Washington) is looked to as nothing else but a pep talk machine (when Jodi misses her birthday, Fareeda is the one that gets called out), her parents do nothing but try and support her but they get yelled at for trying, she uses her previous boyfriend Stig’s (Luke Eisner) desperate need to fit in to her friend group to get stuff from him, and she gives Tommy the idea that she likes him but she then drops him. Jodi has basically become Tessa Young from After because every side character becomes a servant. And I guess I’d be fine with that if Jodi wasn’t such a selfish person. But alas, she is, so I can’t really look past it.

A dinner scene from Tall Girl 2. (digitalspy.com)

Now for what really grinds my gears about this movie: Sam Wolfson. If that name doesn’t ring a bell from numerous articles from The Guardian, he is also the sole writer of this movie and the last movie. The reason I bring him up is because being the sole writer of this movie means he is solely responsible for the amount of times I cringed during this movie. Normally, I’d blame the director, but Emily Ting is honestly a really solid director who is absolutely wasting her talent. Sam Wolfson, however, does not get excused. The screenplay doesn’t even succeed as a cheesy rom-com because about 80% of the dialogue just gives me sheer pain. I gave this a ½ star rating out of 5 on letterboxd (movie review app) less than halfway into the movie because the writing was so terrible. And even if the dialogue wasn’t straight out of a Wattpad One Direction fan-fiction, the structure of the film would still be off. Sam Wolfson tries to juggle focusing on Jodi while giving love to all the supporting characters. In doing this, not a single character gets a complete arc because their character development either got cut out of the movie or it wasn’t there in the first place. And all of these scenes feel like they’re happening all at once and are out of order. The writing is absolutely all over the place, and it’s not getting the mockery it deserves because it is truly atrocious. I wanted to stop the movie several times to save myself from what I was hearing, but I kept going on and I regret it. 

One thing I found myself doing several times in this film was yell at the screen saying, “WHY ARE YOU IN THIS MOVIE!” because while there are some moments where the acting is questionable, I want everyone in this movie to stop being in these kinds of movies. Griffin Gluck was great in American Vandal (which should not have been canceled) and can totally be in better movies than this one. I may only remember Sabrina Carpenter’s horrible “you failed me” scene from Girl Meets World, but I was kind of blown away with how good she was in this movie. It’s not an award-worthy performance, but she gave the role heart and made me question why she is still doing Netflix cash grabs. Ava Michelle may not have been great in this movie but I can tell she could do better things; it’s just sad that she feels like she has to label herself as that one tall girl. And Angela Kinsey and Steve Zhan, what the hell are you guys doing here? Angela Kinsey was literally Angela from The Office. She could either just make her career off of that or be in movies that don’t just waste her like she’s nothing. And Steve Zhan is one of the most underrated actors of all time, and he desperately needs to get more appreciation. He was always the best actor in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, and his amazing performance in War for the Planet of the Apes is so underrated. Basically, I hope for the best for every actor in this movie, and hope that means that they’ll stop doing these movies. 

But I genuinely hate this movie. At first, I thought it was just going to be a film that TikTok poked too much fun at, but it is genuinely awful. To me, a film is the worst when it acts like it is pure art. When a film like Cats prides itself in being a symbol for humanity and its reaction to politics, I want to throw my TV in the trash. When a film like Fantastic Four (2015) has its creators making fun of the movie and having a chuckle with everyone else who hated the movie, I forgive everyone involved. Nothing is worse than a bad movie parading around like it’s art, which is why this movie earns more hate from me. It has such an arrogant feeling in its soul, and it genuinely believes that it is funny and deep. I said to myself several times that I would rather be watching the beautiful movie The Worst Person in the World over this garbage. So please do not watch this movie or even give it a hate-watch because you’re only giving Netflix the incentive to do a sequel. Instead, watch The Worst Person in the World because it genuinely deserves more attention and love, something that Tall Girl 2 doesn’t deserve.