Netflix does it again, giving the oddest shows and movies their utmost attention while canceling the ones that are actually exceptional and of importance. Back in 2019, Netflix released the controversial Tall Girl, showcasing the insecurities of a 6’2, 16-year-old. Even though the film received loads of criticism, Netflix decided to provide an unwarranted sequel that not only shares several similarities to the countless teen movies that the streaming service puts out but also manages to be more feeble than its predecessor.
The beginning of the Tall Girl 2 starts off with a corny recap of the first film, which is actually necessary since the first film was slightly forgettable. Tall girl Jodi (Ava Michelle) is now popular after confronting the school about how being bullied about her height isn’t going to make her feel insecure. Now that she has moved past her insecurity of being tall, she now has to deal with other, normal teenage problems, like dealing with anxiety while she stars in the school’s musical and dating a guy half a foot shorter than her.
Other than battling her insecurities and dealing with her new relationship, there is really nothing else going on in this sequel. There are a few side plots but they don’t add much except more needless drama. Just like in every other teen rom-com sequel, there is that unnecessary plot where a random “hot” guy is mixed into the movie to try to create drama for the main couple in the film. This trope is getting extremely overplayed, especially in Netflix originals, so seeing it be used in this sequel isn’t surprising but insanely aggravating.
Jodi struggling with her anxiety is not a horrible plotline, anxiety awareness is always important to be presented in any movie, especially for the teenage audience. But the film forgets about the plot of the first movie, they barely apply the main storyline which is that a young girl is insecure about her height. The sequel just moves past it, hoping that the slightly boring characters will bring more development to the table.
Almost every character, even the smallest ones, has some sort of character development. Most of it doesn’t work as well as it wants to. Jodi’s bully, Kimmy (Clara Wilsey), finally ends her reluctant feud with Jodi while more likable characters like Dunkleman (Griffin Gluck), Jodi’s boyfriend, lose focus of his own character several times.
Labeled as a villain in the first installment, Swedish foreign exchange student Stig (Luke Eisner) is quite the scene-stealer. Both hilarious and charming, his appearance makes the film slightly more bearable to watch, even in his faintly awkward karaoke scene. Seemingly new to acting, he proves that he has talent and deserves to be a breakout star.
Other than Eisner’s role, there are really no other standout roles. The only other actor that may be of acknowledgment is Sabrina Carpenter, who seems to just be thrown in for a very small amount of time. Carpenter was definitely one of the most popular actors in the film, it’s a shame that they only used her for such a limited time.
The film is purely innocent in so many ways, thus fitting the appeal of being just another teen rom-com that Netflix produces. It is form fitting to help fellow teenagers find their inner confidence and overcome anxiety but as valuable as that lesson is, the film’s execution is poor.
Instead of ditching its initial standing of spreading body positivity, the writers should have pushed forward with its representation of different body types. Since the first film was about a teenager being insecure about her height, it would make sense to elaborate more on that, inserting more characters that are insecure about their bodies. It would not only make the sequel more interesting but it would be incredibly relatable for teen audiences.
With similar Netflix teen drama franchises like The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it’s more exceedingly obvious that Netflix is losing its touch with the teenage audience. They need to learn that not every original film, good or not, needs a follow-up. Based on how similar this franchise is to the other Netflix franchises, there will most likely be another film in its midst. With its sequel barely having any plot, who knows what a third installment will open up.
Unsurprisingly, Tall Girl 2 fails to live up to its tall order. The sequel lacks growth and individuality from other Netflix teen movies, reusing the same plot points that are seen time and time again. It’s extremely devastating that Netflix had the perfect opportunity to make a better statement about body positivity and instead falls short on its boring plot.