Tall Girl 2 (2022) Movie Review – Falls Short Of The Mark


Falls Short Of The Mark

Despite an animated young cast and some genuinely witty dialogue, Tall Girl 2 falls short of the mark.

Netflix’s latest original teen feature, Tall Girl 2, reintroduces audiences to Jodi Kreyman played by Dance Moms alumni Ava Michelle; a syrup-sweet, all-American sixteen-year-old who happens to be- gasp!- six foot tall. But this time, she’s owning every inch.

Following an extended recap breathlessly narrated by Jodi and now-boyfriend Dunkleman (Griffin Gluck), Tall Girl 2 picks up where the first film left off. Jodi’s decision to embrace her height (announced in a rousing speech at homecoming dance) has landed her admiration and popularity among once-bullying peers, the vertically challenged boy of her dreams, and most importantly, self-love and acceptance.

Complications arise however when Jodi’s newfound confidence blossoms into a flirtation with stage stardom- and with cute co-star Tommy (Jan Luis Castellanos).  Will she succeed in repairing her relationship and overcoming anxiety in time for opening night?

According to a Netflix quarterly report, Tall Girl (2019) was watched by 41 million households within the first month of streaming. For context, that’s almost two-thirds as many viewers as the 2020 phenomenon Tiger King.

Yet not everyone was a fan, with many considering the film unrealistic and tone-deaf to conflate tallness with social inequality. The New York Times suggesting “many viewers might not feel much empathy for the small-minded grievances of wealthy teens who drive to school in S.U.V.s.” – or in the words one commentator, “Calm down Jodi, you’re just tall.”

Tall Girl 2 avoids this criticism by having Jodi move past her tall girl woes. (To be fair, were they any more ridiculous than Rachel Leigh Cook or Anne Hathaway playing ugly ducklings?) When a curious bystander comments Jodi must be “What- six-two, six three?” the teen simply smiles, though “three months ago that would have really bothered you” marvels Dunkleman (the voice of exposition.) Unfortunately, this leaves the sequel with the barest of plots. Jodi may still be 6.1 in height, but the stakes couldn’t be lower.

Aside from a tacked-on love triangle and a number of unnecessary subplots (were audiences really crying out for a cameo from Stig’s Swedish cousin?), the film’s major conflict revolves around an amateur production of Guys and Dolls. Because what do 2022 teen viewers love more than seventy-year-old-musicals?

Despite this lightweight plot, Tall Girl 2 does have its charms. The cast has great chemistry and boasts an array of enjoyable performances, particularly those of Angela Kinsey and Steve Zahn as Jodi’s loving, if eccentric, mother and father. In fact, it’s only Ava Michelle who appears to be lacking charisma and comes across as somewhat flat in many scenes. Then again, an actress can only work with the material she’s given. Meryl Streep herself would struggle to inject life into such a one-note, vanilla character.

Tall Girl 2 also contains some genuinely funny dialogue. (“I don’t know where I would get pig guts,” says one character about mean girl Kimmy’s Carrie-inspired plot. “Google it,” she snaps.) For the most part though, the film’s humour is more High School Musical than Mean Girls. And like the Disney Channel franchise, enjoyment of Tall Girl 2 requires a high tolerance for cheesiness.

So, is it for you? Perhaps a good litmus test is how you feel about a teenage boy carrying a milkcrate everywhere he goes, in the hope that he’ll one day stand atop it to kiss his much taller dream girl. Does it elicit an awww? You’ll adore Tall Girl 2. More like eeww? Maybe give it a miss.

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  • Verdict - 4/10

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