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Review Roundup: 13 THE MUSICAL, Now Streaming on Netflix

Review Roundup: 13 THE MUSICAL, Now Streaming on Netflix

Read all of the reviews for 13 the Musical here!

13: the Musical is now streaming on Netflix!

The cast of 13: the Musical includes Debra Messing, Josh Peck, Rhea Perlman, Peter Hermann, Eli Golden, Gabriella Uhl, JD McCrary, Lindsey Blackwell, Jonathan Lengel, Luke Islam, Shechinah Mpumlwana, Kayleigh Cerezo, Willow Moss, and Khiyla Aynne.

After his parents' divorce, Evan Goldman (Eli Golden) moves from NYC to small-town Indiana. As his 13th birthday nears, he must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party ever.

Directed by Tamra Davis, and based on the hugely popular musical 13, which debuted on Broadway in 2008, 13: THE MUSICAL is a coming-of-age journey through the unforgettable ups and downs of preteen life.

Let's see what the critics are saying...


Amy Nicholson, The New York Times: But once the film checks off the expected city versus country gripes about bagels (none), cows (too many) and the unnerving rural silence ("How can anyone sleep with all this quiet!"), the director Tamra Davis aims to sell the film's young audience on an inclusive vision of America that quickly soothes any apprehensions of antisemitism, as well as most of the other anxieties of adolescence. The screenwriter Robert Horn not only buffs the bullying subplots from the book of his 2008 Broadway musical (which he co-wrote with Dan Elish) until Evan no longer has to punch a football jock in the nose - he's made the tensions so subterranean that certain dramatic plot points barely make sense.

Jesse Hassinger, Paste: 13 was not a hit in its day, but seemed destined to live on as a school-production staple, and now has claimed its true Broadway lineage by being turned into a movie that doesn't really work. Theoretically, the story of Evan (Eli Golden), a New York kid whose parents' divorce transplants him to small-town Indiana just months before his planned bar mitzvah bash, should be a comfortable fit on smaller screens. But efforts to make it pop as a movie-cranked-up digital coloring, wall-to-wall theater-kid performances, low-budget music-video slickness-give the movie an unfortunate youth-pastor (or, if you will, cool-rabbi) energy. Director Tamra Davis, whose enviable resume includes tons of great music videos, Billy Madison and episodes of countless TV shows including You're the Worst, goes into anonymous-professional mode, and only a handful of even faintly memorable musical numbers result.

Abe Friedtanzer, Awards Watch: This young cast includes some extraordinary talent, led by Golden as the energetic and well-meaning Evan. Gabriella Uhl and Jonathan Lengel have solid comedic timing as Evan's unpopular friends Patrice and Archie, and Frankie McNellis impresses with her vocals and dancing as Kendra's mean girl best friend Lucy, who also harbors a crush on Brett. Blackwell and McCrary are also skilled dancers, and each musical number is big, bold, and absolutely delivers. "Opportunity" is another standout song that channels Lucy's self-perception and whose choreography involves the cheerleading squad.

Alexander Harrison, Screen Rant: 13 is one of those movie musicals eager to sprint from song to song, and in this particular case, anyone not already Broadway-energy inclined will find that tough to sit through. The music itself is very poppy, and the numbers tend to chase a certain visual dynamism - both through camera movement and group choreography - that grows tiresome when deployed so consistently in rapid succession. There is fun to be had when the movie taps into the awkwardness of its titular age, as in the opening "Thirteen/Becoming a Man" or "Bad News," sung by Brett's abandoned friends after he starts dating, but that mileage is limited when it's the only source of engagement. This movie really needed to spend more time on its characters and their relationships, both of which seem designed to service the plot, rather than constituting full-fledged human beings worthy of emotional investment.

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