A Tall Order

‘Tall Girl’ on Netflix Has a Small Mind

Immediately after finishing Tall Girl on Netflix, I performed a necessary wellness check on Steve Zahn. There’s no logical reason for him to voluntarily be in this movie, I thought. Is he going through something, or perhaps his business manager has absconded with his earnings?

Thankfully, Steve Zahn is fine, with a healthy career. His work on this film is still a mystery, but I assume he lost a bet. Netflix has really knocked it out of the park with some of their original films, like Always Be My Maybe, Set it Up, Dumplin’, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I was hoping Tall Girl might be another equally enjoyable film.

It wasn’t, but I did find some excellent tweets. Tall Girl is closer to Netflix’s nonsensical The Kissing Booth but without the forgivable explanation of a 15-year-old creator. I had high (ha) hopes that being tall would not be Jodie’s whole plot, but it absolutely is. Her tallness is so worrisome her parents (Zahn and Angela Kinsey) ask the doctor if they can place their then-three old on anti-growth hormones (no, they cause lots of problems).

Countless high school students ask Jodi “How’s the weather up there?” Tall Girl wants us to believe these corny nerds live in New Orleans, yet this is the best they can do. Also, Jodi is also only 6’1”– well above average, but hardly extraordinary. But she stands out in her crowded high school like Tyra Banks on that one season of Top Model where everyone was 5’7” and under. They film Jodi to look even taller and more out of place. I have friends that height or taller, and they certainly aren’t drawing stares in public like Jodi does.

Her best friend staunchly defends her from vile insults like “how’s the weather up here?” (yeah, they use it every time. This movie really didn’t think outside the lines) among other things. More importantly, her best friend is a black woman who allows this rich, attractive, blonde white women to act as though being tall is the worst lot in life. Truly, I cannot believe Jodi’s audacity. This is a post-Katrina New Orleans and this girl acts like being model-height causes her intense suffering.

Her dad also seems to enjoy feeling like a victim of his daughter’s height. He keeps trying to fix it, even going so far as to invite the local chapter of the Tall Club International to their home for a mixer. And her older sister is a beauty queen who’s dying to make over Jodi.

You are like such a Tall Girl

The love interest is of course, the only boy in school taller than Jodi. He’s a new Swedish exchange student named Stig, with perfect cheekbones and golden locks. Jodi and everyone in school are immediately smitten. He seems into her to, but his host brother Dunkleman is ready to cock-block at every turn. Dunkleman is aggressively in love with Jodi, to the point where there should have been police intervention.

Dunkleman does the following things in just a few weeks: asks Jodi out/hits on her multiple times per day, watches her sleep and touches her hair while he does, gets her custom high heels from a drag queen store called Scream Queens interrupts her date with Stig, and tells Stig, who does like Jodi, that he should stick with Kimmy, the popular girl because this is his one chance to be cool. Stig is apparently the Dunkleman of Sweden.

This boy is meant to be Jodi’s FRIEND and he does this. He actively works to hurt his friend’s feelings and deny her the opportunity to explore a burgeoning relationship with someone else because he doesn’t like it. Of course, they present him as charming.

The surprising part of this movie was how misogynistic it was. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie where female characters have no interest other than boys. The girls in school fight over Stig like a prize to be won, and they value male attention so highly that Jodi willingly ditches her best friend to go on a date with a boy who days before bullied her relentlessly.

I feel bad for tall girls that this is their movie. They deserve way more! The plot was egregious, and I need to mention that they color-code the library books, as though the high school is solely for influencers.

Also, this movie made me want to smash every milk crate I’ve ever seen to smithereens. Without spoiling too much, let’s call the one in this movie Chekhov’s Milk Crate. If it appears in the first act, then it’s going to go off in the third.

Kristin Clifford

Kristin Clifford is a comedy writer in Los Angeles. She started in Chicago, studying improv and performing stand-up, but has traded the stage for the page. Recent projects include writing for season 2 of Cathy in Real Life.

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