Movie Review: “Never Goin’ Back”


“Never Goin’ Back” is a scruffy, raunchy and random farce about two broke girls who blow the rent money on a beach vacation “Because you deserve it, WE deserve it.”

And in America, we all get what we deserve, right?

Jessie (Camilla Morrone of “Death Wish”) is about to turn 17. Angela (Maia Mitchell of “The Fosters” and “Hot Summer Nights”) is just a few months older. They’ve quit their Texas high school to share a rental house with Jessie’s stoner brother (Joel Allen) and his fast food cook friend Brandon (Kyle Mooney of “SNL”), share waitressing duties at a nearby diner and share a bed — because that’s how broke they are.

If you’re aiming for “cult film,” creating space for the occasional early morning tickle-panties fight is a must. “Exploitation” and “cult” go hand in um, hand.

They’re too young to be at a dead end, but stuck in minimum wage jobs on Fort Worth, only earning enough for rent, food, weed, bus fare and laundromat change — they can see the dead end from there.

When Galveston is your “dream” vacation, it might be time to wake up.

“Never Goin’ Back” is about what gets in the way of that trip. Because “stoner” is a bit generous in describing brother Dustin. He’s an utter idiot, sharing his delusions of drug dealing wealth with loser-pals Tony (Kendal Smith) and Ryan (Matthew Holcomb), creating every obstacle the girls face before they can hit the sand.

Hard feelings among the doofus dudes ensue, with Tony revenge-robbing the house at dawn, the two under-dressed teen not-yet-strumpets cussing, flipping-off and waking the neighborhood as he does.

That attracts the cops, the cops sniff around, and that puts the robbery victims in jail for drug possession. Angela and Jessie’s jobs are on the line, the rent money they blew on the trip they’re about to take is still due, and Dustin the moron  threw all his money at a busted dope deal.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, watching an aged hooker with envy, for instance.

“If you’re goin’ to go from man to man, might as well get paid for it.”

Robbery is contemplated, among other options.

“How illegal is blackmail?”

“Kinda medium…I think.”

You have to embrace the randomness to get anything out of “Never Goin’ Back.” It’s not “Spring Break” — no sex, no edge. It’s a bit “Dazed and Confused” meets “Three’s Company” and its spawn — “Two Broke Girls.” But the two stars are a stitch, and the dopes surrounding them can be laugh-out-loud funny.

Dustin’s one of those mini-mall Original Gangstas, absorbing stereotypical African American drug dealer speech because all the business schools tell you to master the vernacular of the profession you aspire to.

“Daddy GOT this!”

He’s nonplussed that his “friend” would rob him, he tells the cops. “We were hittin’ it off, I thought.”

“Are you homosexual, son?”

“No. Nooo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…Love is love.” Read that “Seinfeld” line aloud like Napoleon Dynamite stoned and you get the vibe of the picture.

Over a two day span, the girls scramble to get their jobs back, struggle to launder their waitress uniforms to get those jobs back, accidentally imbibe the wrong brownies at the house of the dude who lets them use his washer, all while Jessie fails to evacuate her shy colon.

Somehow, they’re still irresistible. Somehow, they resist the crude adolescent-flavored advances of Brandon, the only gainfully-employed person they know, in his mid-30s, and looking it.

Writer-director Augustine Frizzell gives the duo their best laughs in tirades, curse-offs with their more competent diner colleagues, rants about how stupid Dustin is to his stupid face, and mumbled scheming in one memorable stoned-out-of-their-gourds scene.

She needed more funny stuff, though Mitchell and Morrone give the picture an unplanned, improvised feel and funny homoerotic buzz.

They make “Never Goin’ Back” a comedy about the journey, not the destination. Because who knows if these two nitwits will ever make it into their bikinis?


MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and brief nudity – all involving teens.

Cast:  Maia MitchellCamila MorroneJoel Allen, Kendal Smith and Kyle Mooney

Credits: Written and directed by Augustine Frizzell. An A24 release.

Running time: 1:25

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