BANANA SPLIT just happened to be a random find while cruising Netflix. When looking it up, it was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the premise sounded interesting, and it was released back in March of 2020 (even though it was made two years ago and played at film festivals for a bit until then), so here I am, able to review it. And I’m glad I did, because this was actually a decent little teen comedy that didn’t treat the audience as if they were morons. Witty, fun, yet crude dialogue that made our two protagonist characters hilariously funny. Combined with their undeniable chemistry ended up making this film a breeze of a watch, especially that it is also only an hour and 28 minutes long. It doesn’t drag once whatsoever. It’s one of those R rated coming of age tales that in no way shape or form would’ve made any kind of money whatsoever in theaters, due to the fact that while the two leads have been in a bunch of stuff your teen children could recite off the top of their heads, I only knew them from things when I looked up their names on IMDB. Streaming is the perfect platform for this movie. And it thankfully isn’t a Netflix original film, I looked it up and found that you could rent or buy cheap on other VOD apps like VUDU or FandangoNow for anyone interested that doesn’t pay for the big subscription streaming platform. Speaking of IMDB, it describes Banana Split as such: “Over the course of a summer, two teenage girls develop the perfect kindred spirit friendship, with one big problem: one of them is dating the other’s ex.” The reason why I probably enjoyed this film the most is that the two leads reminded me of two good friends of mine that act the same way toward each other, although neither of them has dated the same guy…thank Christ for that.
Halfway through the film, I started thinking to myself, “man, some of this dialogue is so crude and rude there is no way that a woman wrote this.” If the reveal had been a guy I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much. How am I supposed to know if what was said and made me laugh was authentic from a woman’s perspective? Well, it is authentic, as I was surprised to find out that the co-writer of this screenplay was the film’s main star Hannah Marks. She co-wrote it with her frequent collaborator Joey Power, which makes me want to check out their 2018 indie After Everything, which has similarly gotten good reviews. Her and Liana Liberato are fantastic here. Their friendship based off rules of not talking about the latter’s current boyfriend and the former’s ex felt genuine and realistic. Granted, it does go into some predictable territory by the film’s end, such as the audience knows the leads are eventually going bring up their feelings of jealousy and get mad at one another, but to give the film’s credit, it doesn’t wrap up everything in a nice and neat bow. There are a couple of threads left dangling, and the film does that on purpose, as the story is just about the resolution of these two’s relationship and their relationship alone. We have a couple of side B plots involving the boyfriend, played to the best of his stone face ability by not Jughead Dylan Sprouse, and his red headed best friend, and while a couple of things happen that are interesting, the movie knows it doesn’t need to focus on them as much as other teen comedies would have. Focusing on them too much would’ve bogged down the narrative.
The movie isn’t revolutionary in terms of the teen comedy or the crude sexual content comedy, it’s just a fun little flick that mostly works because of the fast, witty dialogue and the chemistry between the two leads. It was quite refreshing to not have a teen comedy go directly into the toilet within the first five minutes of the film, it had a natural progression that set things up as need be, and then the pay offs, although some of the predictable, didn’t try to do anything too outlandish. Hannah Marks should keep on keepin’ on writing. and unlike Ben Affleck, she’s a pretty good actress where I’d say she could star in her own stuff and it not seem like too much at one time. I’m really curious as to if maybe these two girls are actually really good friends in real life, but I don’t have the energy to do that much research on such a little film. Judging by their Instagram’s, I don’t think they are, which they could’ve fooled me as all their interactions in the film feel very realistic. I really don’t have any complaints about this film. It is a decent couple of times watch teen comedy that got quite a few laugh out loud moments from me. A movie like this isn’t meant to be studied or held up on a pedestal, it isn’t supposed to make you think or be nominated for any awards, it is just meant for escape and to have fun with it, something different than the bullshit movies on Netflix like Feel The Beat or Work It. Something worth your time and you can pay 100% attention to and not have your mind split over other activities on your phone or computer. It was a nice little indie treat.