REVIEW: ‘Sweet Girl’ Has its Problems, But it’s a Fun Popcorn Flick

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Sweet Girl

Netflix is pumping out original content this year like there’s no tomorrow. Their international content alone is unmatched. In 2021 however, there’s been a big push for more American content with films and shows. Enter Sweet Girl, starring Aquaman himself, a Netflix original film, out now on the streaming platform.

Directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza, starring Jason Mamoa as Ray Cooper, Isabela Merced as Rachel Cooper, and Justin Bartha as Simon Keeley, among others. The film centers on Ray Cooper, a husband, and father attempting to keep his family together as his wife battles cancer. There’s a sliver of hope, however, when an affordable generic brand experimental drug hits the market with promising results. However, not long after the drug is pulled when a big pharma company gets involved and shelves the product. Without the treatment, Ray loses his wife,  is filled with furious vengeance, and decides to direct his wrath at the executives involved.

This was not the movie I was expecting at all. Sweet Girl doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel by any means, but the plot itself is actually quite captivating. Just as the story hits a bit of a lull after the second act, and things are starting to feel quite routine and uninspired, there’s a major twist. This twist really livens up not just the third act, but it actually serves to reinvent the whole movie.

There’s not an awful lot there as far as dialogue goes, but I will say I’m not sure it particularly needed that either. Mendoza clearly had a specific story in mind and what he wanted to see, and through the 110 minutes, it ultimately delivers.

Mamoa was his usual robust and physical self. When he’s in a project, you’re aware of what you will get out on the screen, and he delivers that. His character is fairly vapid at times, with his motive being that of a blunt instrument. The fight scenes featuring Mamoa were a lot of fun, and hats off to him and the stunt team because it was engaging stuff. The fights felt a lot rawer, more physical, and less choreographed, which I appreciated as you can learn Ray trains in some form of MMA.

What ends up humanizing him is the character of his daughter Rachel, played by Merced, and they have some lovely little moments together. Merced puts in a stellar performance, in a role I was not expecting from her. I think after watching the film, viewers will have an appreciation for her execution of the character.

Ultimately though, the film is quite clunky in parts, especially the beginning. There are multiple jumps in time between the present, the past, later on, etc. This is especially cumbersome given the film starts with a rather large emotional hook. This is where Mendoza wanted to get certain points across, but it bogs down the pace before you can really get started on film. It eventually settles out, and when it does, the film starts to find its balance, and you can see the plot forming. But that first act was rocky as Mendoza attempted to set the scene and introduce you to the world.

Overall though, I have to say while the film had its faults I actually enjoyed it. It’s nothing stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a decent popcorn flick. Mamoa and Merced absolutely are the backbone of the film. The third act is thoroughly explosive, and I never saw it coming. It completely changed the dynamic of the film—an entertaining film, albeit with some rocky moments.

Sweet Girl is available now exclusively on Netflix.


Sweet Girl
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall though, I have to say while the film had its faults I actually enjoyed it. It’s nothing stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a decent popcorn flick. Mamoa and Merced absolutely are the backbone of the film. The third act is thoroughly explosive, and I never saw it coming. It completely changed the dynamic of the film—an entertaining film, albeit with some rocky moments.