Every year, I try to watch as many new films as possible to broaden my film repertoire. There’s so many classic films that I’ve never bothered watching: Jaws, Titanic, and Chinatown just to name a few. Thankfully, that list gets a little smaller every year.
The main reason that I’ve never seen so many of the greats is because I spend most of my time watching terrible movies. I love them. They transcend space and time, making a mere ninety minutes feel like an eternity. There’s nothing more entertaining than finding an absolute gem of a bad film and telling people about it. Thankfully, with streaming services like Netflix that make producing and accessing movies so easy, there is a never ending supply of garbage for me to consume.
That is where the wonderful film, #RealityHigh comes in. Yes, it is really spelt with a hashtag and yes, it is about as terrible as the title suggests. If you Google it, you’ll see several articles comparing the plot to Mean Girls or Pretty in Pink, and I guess it sort of is like these films, almost like how an entire bag of Cheetos is sort of a meal.
The film opens at a children’s camp where a British girl, Alexa, convinces her friend, Dani, that some guy wants to make out with her behind one of the cabins. Cut to Dani about to make out with this guy when out of nowhere, he pulls out a teacup pig. Dani of course does not hear,see, or smell the pig -- her eyes are closed and she is in full on makeout mode. Sadly for her, all the other kids have been in the room the whole time without her noticing, and they call her mean names like “pig kisser” and “pig breath”. They even take photos of her sitting two feet away from the pig. She is distraught, and deletes her Facebook immediately.
Flash forward to #now (yes, it really says that). Dani has never been able to recover from the social suicide of having a pig near her face and she is unpopular. Her only friend is Freddie, an aspiring DJ who looks like he belongs in a 2011 boyband. He chastises Dani for playing bad music like Taylor Swift, then promptly switches the music to an equally terrible pop song.
Dani’s family loves her and are hopeful that she will win a scholarship that she needs so she can go to college.
Dani’s little sister, Taylor, is obsessed with a Youtube show called #RealityHigh. The show stars Alexa, who now has a Spanish accent, and it is about her life in some way. It seems like she mainly sits by a pool and goes shopping while somehow having an entire camera crew following her every move. I have no idea why the filmmakers thought that anyone would watch her show or how it would be interesting enough for her to have a following in this fictional world. Then again, I’m taking time out of my night to watch this movie so I can’t really comment.
Dani gets to school and we see some random scenes with various kids. The highlights include one girl seeing someone named Miguel in the hallway, then sprinting away full speed while he tries to inexplicably take her photo. He then posts it on instagram with the hashtags #fashionpolice and #KILLYOSELF. There is no reason for this to happen and we never come back to it again.
Another scene is this one:
Dani walks through the halls and sees the love of her life, Cameron. Sadly, he is popular and is on the swim team, while Dani is awkward and likes dogs, so they can never be together. She looks at him in the hall, wondering why this boy she has never spoken to isn’t interested in dating her.
Later at lunch, Alexa walks in to what has to be the worst introduction montage I’ve ever seen. We see slow motion shots of Alexa paired with random, out of focus zoom ins on various characters. There is also a shot of a kid chewing with his mouth open.
The point of all of this is to establish that Alexa is mean and dating Cameron.
School is over and we find Dani and Freddie at “work”. I put that in quotes because they are volunteers at a dog shelter, but they perform the roles of full time vets despite being high school students. Cameron comes into the dog shelter/vet clinic with Alexa’s tiny dog and tells Dani that the dog ate “like, half a chocolate bar”. Lucky for him, Dani is on the case. She pets the dog twice and says something like “don’t worry, I’m a vet and he is totally fine”. Cameron is amazed at her “work”.
As thanks for her hard work, Cameron offers to buy Dani a hamburger. She says she’s a vegetarian and then he leaves.
Freddie and Dani later show up at the same burger place Cameron and his friends are at. Most of the other high school students are also there. Either this is the only burger joint in LA or the movie is simultaneously set in 2017 and 1950, aka the last time that a burger shop was considered the place to hangout in your spare time.
Dani gets out to go to the bathroom. Freddie practices telling Dani that he is in love with her but chickens out when she comes back and instead tells her that he is going to DJ a bar mitzvah in a couple weeks and she needs to drive him. Freddie being in love with Dani is never relevant in the movie again.
Alexa decides she’s done with Cameron and breaks up with him over a string of text messages. He’s pretty upset about it, but his dad gives him some really great advice: first relationships are pointless so who cares. Then he suggests that Cameron date his step-aunt. Cameron’s step mom #totallyagrees but Cameron says he wants to do more than just date a hot girl (who is also his relative...).
While all of this is going on, Dani creeps Alexa on Instagram and discovers her GoFundMe project. The project is for stopping beauty standards or something equally ridiculous, giving Dani the idea to also start a GoFundMe. I assume it is for her to go to college but honestly, I have no idea.
The next morning, Taylor tells the whole family about Cameron and Alexa breaking up. Apparently it is all over social media and it’s all anyone cares about. Dani’s family then sings her “The Cameron Song” which is just the word Cameron over and over again to the tune of happy birthday. She loves it and goes to school ready for her scholarship interview and ready to date the boy of her dreams.
Dani talks to Cameron at school and casually mentions the scholarship she’s applying for. Cameron is amazed - Dani has a job AND she cares about school? He invites her to a party he’s throwing that Saturday, then tells her to be there at noon. Even though no party in the world has ever or will ever start at 12PM, Dani doesn’t know any better and can’t wait to go.
The party plays out exactly as you’d think: Dani shows up, hangs out with Cameron, then later after everyone has left they practice swimming and fall in love. Some more interesting party moments include a teenage boy unironically using the word golly and a guy pouring pool water into his mouth via a water gun.
The party even had a DJ but sadly, it wasn’t Freddie - he’s not ready for these high profile gigs yet.
Now we are treated to a wonderful montage of Cameron and Dani dating. It even includes Cameron also becoming a vet. We’re one hour into the movie and it kind of feels like it could stop here but don’t worry, it keeps going. Alexa apologizes to Dani for trying to make her kiss a pig ten years ago and the two become friends. Alexa even promotes Dani’s GoFundMe, which is actually to help a dog get surgery. Dani forgets about Freddie and his bar mitzvah, focusing on more important things like petting a dog in a club.
Dani becomes a clone of Alexa and Cameron hates it. He tries to tell Dani about how he got accepted to UCLA but all she is doing is looking at her phone. Later, she shows up drunk when he tries to do an interview for FoxSports and the two are done for good.
The rest of the movie is pretty much the last third of Mean Girls: Alexa and Dani have a falling out when it’s discovered they were #fakefriends all along, Dani feels like everyone hates her, then she makes up with Freddie and embraces being the awkward, weird girl she used to be. She goes to a bonfire party, Cameron reminds her how much she loves dogs, and the two make out on the beach.
I would give this movie a solid 2/7. It gains points for having dogs and featuring a diverse cast, but loses points for being absolutely terrible. If you need to kill two hours and love exposition and bad acting, this is the film for you.