While it’s not at all surprising why both Dakota Fanning (alongside her sister Elle) and Elizabeth Olsen are often touted as rising stars of Hollywood, it’s equally surprising why a film such as Very Good Girls which casts them together as feuding friends doesn’t really get a spark going.
The pair play close friends Lilly and Gerri, happy to spend the summer together pranking around as an early daylight skinny dip proves. However when Gerri meets Boyd Holbrook’s handsome but snappy ice cream seller, it’s not long before Lilly realises her own attraction, causing tension between the pair that threatens to split their friendship in two.
While both Fanning and Olsen are fine in their roles, supported by a cast which includes Peter Sarsgaard, Ellen Barkin and Demi Moore albeit in small roles, there’s little in director and writer Naomi Foner’s script that we haven’t seen before.
And when the likes of Kings of Summer and Boyhood in recent years have told coming of age stories with far more emotional depth and honesty than this rather clichéd effort, it’s disappointing that there isn’t more to Very Good Girls than the fairly obvious at times. Sub-plots struggle to add much depth with Fanning’s fooling around with her boss feeling tacked on to create more romantic tension the film could do without.
So if you want to see quirky, catty friendships tested in an honest fashion try Lena Dunham’s Girls. These girls are just a little too very good really to be bad.