Warning: This post contains spoilers for a movie you definitely should never watch so it shouldn’t be a problem.
The movie Dude is the worst thing I’ve ever seen on Netflix and that includes Horrible Bosses 2 and every movie starring Adam Sandler.
As far as bad movies go, I was all in when I read Netflix’s description of Dude:
“Four best friends navigate loss and major life changes – and smoke a lot of weed – during their last two weeks of high school.”
It sounded… fine.
The mention of weed seemed a little excessive, but high school movies are the best. There’s precisely zero critical thinking required and every now and then they’re legitimately funny. So I was keen.
But then…then… it started.
It opens on the four lead actors rapping in a car while smoking weed. There’s a lot of talk of ‘dicks’, and I get the sense that this movie is going to recreate pretty much every film about teenage boys and just make it about teenage girls. So Lily (Lucy Hale), Chloe (Kathryn Prescott), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp) and Rebecca (Awkwafina) like smoking weed, talking about sex, and rapping.
But within the first ten minutes, Dude copies the plot of every single American teen movie of the last two decades.
A character named Thomas, who we've hardly met, but apparently was Lily's boyfriend and Chloe's brother, dies in a car accident.
This twist is not that important though, because we suddenly flash forward a year, and everyone seems to be doing fine. Thomas' death is just brought up every ten minutes to remind us that this movie is deep, the characters have feelings, etc.
The real tension is that Lily wants to go to Columbia University, and she wants her best friend Chloe to go to NYU, so they can be close. But SHOCK - Chloe doesn't want to go to NYU, she wants to get away from Lily, for reasons that aren't made clear at any point.
Even though Lily fulfils a major stereotype about women by being the over-controlling friend who won't let Chloe live her own life, we're meant to believe she's very feminist, because she a) is open about having sex, b) is always keen to "get weird" with drugs, and c) acts just like a teenage boy by asking such questions as, 'would you rather have penises for fingers or vaginas for ears?'
In the background, Lily and Chloe's two best friends Amelia and Rebecca are bizarre caricatures of teenage girls.
Amelia is obsessed with boys and Rebecca is so in love with one of her teachers that she goes to the bathroom and masturbates during the day at school. While Dude has been praised for its diversity, with Amelia and Rebecca both belonging to minorities, surely it's worth noting that they get no character development and are entirely unrealistic, one-dimensional portrayals of high school students.
The story is really about Lily and Chloe's friendship, two girls who are white, thin and beautiful.
But the story quickly becomes problematic in several other ways, when Lily finds herself at a party, hooking up with a guy. They go upstairs, where Lily clearly states she doesn't want to have sex, but suddenly, he's inside her, and within seconds, it's all over.
Watch the trailer for Dude below. It makes it look marginally better than it actually is. Post continues after video.
This clear case of sexual assault, however, is just not... explored. No one ever calls it rape, and it's only used as a plot device to emphasise the fact that Lily was ditched by her friends at the party which was very unfair.
In one of the closing scenes, Chloe knees the guy in the balls, so I think that was meant to be the film's attempt at justice, but I'm not sure.
Meanwhile, Rebecca's budding relationship with a teacher isn't seen as inappropriate by anyone, including her parents, and no one seems even moderately bothered by the fact that all these teenagers do is smoke weed.
I'M SO MAD ABOUT IT.
Whichever Dude was trying to be - a drama or a comedy - it achieved neither.
The attempts to make the movie serious by adding in a car accident and weird fights about 'going through life alone' are awkward and embarrassing, and I didn't laugh out loud once. People being high, without anything actually... happening, isn't funny.
If you're looking for a bad movie on Netflix, that will secretly be good, Dude is not it.
Dude will make you cringe so hard you will pull a muscle in your face, and then so confused you might as well be using your brain for something productive.
And no one wants that.