13: The Musical review: A misguided attempt at teen comedy

13: The Musical is a Broadway adaptation about a twelve-year-old boy who shifts to Indiana from NYC after his parents get divorced. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

13: The Musical follows Evan Goldman as he struggles with shifting to Indiana and making new friends amidst his parents divorce and his upcoming bar mitzvah. 

He meets Patrice and Archie, and also meets Brett and Kendra- with the two groups being on opposite ends of the school social ladder.

Evan attempts to make more friends so that he could invite them all to his bar mitzvah, and tries to formulate plans for a successful party, although with misguided ways of working.

The plot is quite linear and simple to follow and comes with its own share of teenage angst and drama, accompanied by a great deal of song and dance.

Evan makes new friendships, and breaks them too in this tale of growing up, learning and forming relationships.

The storyline is nothing new, and plays into tropes and cliches. The movie also has certain breaks in its storyline with no clear resolution at certain points, such as Patrice’s petition- it is mentioned numerous times at the start, only to fizzle out without any mention by the end.

The story retains much of its Broadway energies, but ends up reminding one more of a Disney original in its entirety.

Performances

Eli Golden plays Evan, and he does a decent job bringing his character’s emotional journey to the forefront. A better-written script would have helped add more nuance to his acting.

One of the standout performances was by Frankie McNellis as Lucy. She portrays her character brilliantly and showcased her potential for doing much more too.

The rest of the actors played their parts well, but the overall finish to their performances as a whole is missing.

Positives

The film has an engaging soundtrack, with cleverly written lyricism and dances that add to the visual delight on screen.

The portrayal of Jewish customs and traditions is handled decently well for a movie aimed at children and allows space for accommodation and acceptance of differences.

Negatives

The storyline has very half-baked characters and portrayals of relationships. The characters have no real depth to them and exist only to aid with moving the plot forward. Having better-written characters would not only make the watching experience more immersive but also help with better performances from the cast.

The reduction of Evan’s identity to his newness, and away from other aspects of his life get a bit bothersome. There’s no depth in his character, and this makes for a very uninteresting watch at certain scenes.

While the story centres around a 13-year-old, it is likely that the film was made keeping a much younger audience in mind, as the development of the plotline raises many concerns, and more than anything else, the musical is eager to skip from one song to another.

Verdict

Fans of Broadway musicals had high hopes for this adaptation, but it does not bring anything new or even remotely interesting to the table. It lends to a bland one-time watch, at most.

13: The Musical
13: The Musical review: A misguided attempt at teen comedy 1

Director: Tamra Davis

Date Created: 2022-08-12 12:00

Editor's Rating:
2

Also Read: 13: The Musical ending explained: Does Evan get his dream bar-mitzvah?