Banana Split: Film Review

Banana Split

In most teen comedies, it’s a common trope that the ex-girlfriend hates the new girlfriend. But what if that wasn’t the case? This scenario is explored in the subversive and entertaining Banana Split.

Hannah Marks, who also co-wrote the script and co-produces, stars as Apil, who splits up from Nick (Dylan Sprouse) around their high school graduation after two years together. In the summer between graduation and starting college, April, still in love with Nick and reeling from the heartbreak, discovers he has a new girlfriend, Clara (Liana Liberato), and automatically hates her, although when they encounter each other at a house party, they realise they get on really well. Pushing aside the weirdness of it and agreeing not to talk about Nick, the girls become BFFs in secret behind Nick’s back.

I really liked that Banana Split turned the stereotypical ex-girlfriend-new girlfriend relationship on its head. It is always assumed – in film and real-life – that they simply can’t get along and have to actively hate each other but that’s not always the case. Although having Nick has their common denominator makes things a bit awkward, April and Clara can’t resist being friends with each other. I loved how Banana Split showed how finding your BFF can be like falling in love and that feeling can be just as powerful and intense as a romantic relationship. A couple of times I thought April and Clara might become more than friends but it remained platonic and I’m glad that it stayed a battle between a relationship and a friendship.

Although I liked the refreshing if slightly far-fetched set-up, I wasn’t always sold on the script. It wasn’t super funny and it relied on crass “eat a dick”-style humour which felt a bit lazy. It didn’t always stick the landing with certain moments but it delivered a satisfying ending.

Marks, who I haven’t seen onscreen before, had a quirky attitude but was very likeable, while Liberato played the prettier, more alluring counterpart. It was lovely watching them become such close friends. I liked that Sprouse -arguably the most famous castmember in this – isn’t actually in it that much and that the focus is on the girls. On a side note, I really disliked Addison Riecke as April’s sister Agnes – her only job was to throw mean, sexually-explicit barbs towards April. I guess Marks and Joey Power, the writers, thought these words coming out of a youngster’s mouth would be funny but it got boring very quickly.

Banana Split was a lovely and enjoyable watch that’s not quite as funny or as clever as I’d have liked.

Rating: 3/5

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