Laura Terruso’s “Good Girls Get High” debuted on the festival circuit in the fall of 2018, but it’s a shame that it’s not hitting theaters until late 2019, because, unfortunately, “Booksmart” scooped it. Written by Terruso and Jennifer Nashorn Blankenship, based on a book by Sarah Miller, one can’t help but note the similarities in the two films, which both involve a couple of goody two-shoes overachievers flirting with debauchery at the end of high school. The “good girls” in question are Sam (Abby Quinn) and Danielle (Stefanie Scott), who find they’ve earned a dreaded “good girl” superlative in the yearbook. So they spark a joint, hit a party, and all hell breaks loose. It’s standard issue “Superbad” stuff, but with a nerdy female twist.
This slight comedy follows a well-known teen party genre formula, with friendly teachers (Danny Pudi), oddball cops (Lauren Lapkus), and parents, absentee (Matt Besser) or helicopter (Anne Ramsey). At the center of the conflict is Sam’s secret that she got into and declined Harvard, a video entreaty to the storied university serving as a framing device.
While the rest of the film feels slightly juvenile, Quinn, who costarred in “Landline,” keeps “Good Girls Get High” afloat, with her wide-eyed combination of pathos and humor that vacillates from deadpan to goofy. You buy into the story because you buy into Sam’s plight, her awkward missteps and glorious triumphs, and Quinn makes that story take flight.
Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes
Playing: Starts Nov. 8, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; Laemmle Town Center, Encino; also on DirecTV