It's day six of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and all anyone can talk about is the movie "My Old Ass," the latest feature from indie director and occasional Hallmark star Megan Park. A fresh and wickedly funny take on teenage time travel, "My Old Ass" is a warm coming-of-age fable with a star-making lead performance, a surprisingly sincere Aubrey Plaza and a Justin Bieber needle drop for the ages.
"My Old Ass" premiered Jan. 20 at Sundance to a standing ovation and rave reviews. (It currently has a 100% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.) The praise echoes critical acclaim for Megan Park's debut feature, 2021's "The Fallout," now streaming on Max.
That movie was a teen drama of the somber sort, starring Jenna Ortega ("Wednesday") and "Dance Moms" alum Maddie Ziegler. It scooped up Grand Jury and Audience awards at South by Southwest. Park, who wrote and directed "My Old Ass," opted for a much cheekier, but still poignant, story for her second movie.
The film follows Elliott Labrant ("Nashville" veteran Maisy Stella), a queer 18-year-old who, after drinking a hallucinogenic tea at a bonfire, meets her 39-year-old self (the delightfully sardonic Aubrey Plaza, "The White Lotus"). Plaza's future Elliott, a single PhD student, warns young Elliott not to fall in love with a boy named Chad.
The remainder of the film is a teenage odyssey with equal parts humor and emotion. Plaza foregoes her usual deadpan delivery in one deeply moving scene that captures the nostalgia and care we feel for our past selves. And Justin Bieber gave Park permission to re-enact his famous "One Less Lonely Girl" concert schticks, in which he bestowed roses upon shaky pre-teens onstage.
It's no wonder the Canadian-born Park so deftly uses and subverts pop-ey, YA movie tropes in "My Old Ass." She got her start in teen-skewing titles like ABC's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."
And she's a veteran of saccharine Hallmark holiday flicks. Park made her Hallmark debut in 2015's "A Wish Come True," following it up with the Blake Shelton-produced "Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas" (2018) and, most recently, "A Royal Queens Christmas" (2021).
Maddie Ziegler, who previously collaborated with Park on "The Fallout," also stars in "My Old Ass." Kerrice Brooks ("The Prom") and controversial "Wednesday" actor Percy Hynes White round out the main cast. (White was reportedly written out of "Wednesday" Season 2 after multiple women accused him of sexual assault in 2023. The actor subsequently denied the allegations.)
Margot Robbie is among the producing team for "My Old Ass," which does not yet have a distributor. There's no telling whether the movie will have a theatrical release or go straight to streaming like Park's first feature, "The Fallout."
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