LAFF: Banana Split Review

Banana Split - Hannah Marks & Liana Liberato

Coming-of-age films have been the rage for as long as Hollywood has been around. There was the John Hughes era and then there was the American Pie era. Nowadays, this is the age of young adult films. It seems that every decade has its own boom of coming-of-age films. Banana Split is just the latest iteration in the genre. But is Banana Split one of the good iterations of the genre or is it one of the bad?

Luckily, Banana Split is one of the good ones. The film has the feeling of John Hughes with a modern twist to it. Not to mention, the film is a charming reminder of how good comedic coming-of-age films can be.

Banana Split follows April, a high school senior who was recently dumped by her boyfriend Nick. Unfortunately for April, she becomes best friends with Nick’s new girlfriend Clara.

Banana Split - Hannah Marks

Although Banana Split seems like every other coming-of-age comedy, it’s a little bit different. Primarily due to the fact that the story isn’t something that we haven’t really seen before in Hollywood. When most films make everyone hate each other and be jealous of each other, Banana Split is a little different. Here the jealous ex and his new girlfriend actually get along. In fact, they’re quite adorable together. Even to the point where you want to ship the two of them together.

However, the film is predictable—as most coming-of-age films are. When an ex and the new girlfriend become friends, there’s only one way that this situation can end. Banana Split doesn’t avoid this situation at all. Yet the film keeps things interesting through the characters themselves. It makes sense since most films in this genre focus more on the characters than the actual unpredictability of the storyline. Then again, the film does go off on random tangents throughout.

Needless to say that the characters in Banana Split are all amazing since there isn’t a single character isn’t likable in this. Especially when most films make certain characters unlikeable. At the same time, the characters themselves are genre stereotypes. The hot girlfriend, the geeky main character, the funny best friend, and the handsome ex-boyfriend… They’re all there. But the film takes these tropes and changes up their personality. This is how each character is presented in a likable way.

Banana Split - Liana Liberato & Hannah Marks

The characters are only charming due to the performance by the cast. First and foremost, Hannah Marks is such a spunky, lovable loser in this film. At the same time, she gives such a funny and emotional performance too. Liana Liberato isn’t as funny as Marks but she gives such a kind and sweet-natured performance. She doesn’t play the character in the stereotypical hot girl fashion. In addition, the chemistry between Marks and Liberato is palpable. They’re so adorable together that, at times, you forget about their connection to Nick.

Speaking of Nick, Dylan Sprouse provides a performance that’s similar to Liberato. He gives a sweet and good-natured performance that’s the total opposite of his character stereotype. As a result, you don’t have any resentment toward his character dumping April. Luke Spencer Roberts, however, is the only actor to play his character like his stereotype. Then again, you’ll get a lot of laughs from his funny best friend role.

Overall, Banana Split is a charming and hilarious coming-of-age film. Behind a fantastic cast, Banana Split is a nice change of pace from other coming-of-age films. Is the film perfect? Not at all. Yet it’s an enjoyable film that a lot of people can relate to.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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