Alexander IRL

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Alexander IRL Movie Poster Image
Terrible teen comedy isn't funny; lots of potty humor.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Lip service is given to living in the moment and in the world instead of through smartphones, but even that gets sneeringly dismissed at the end. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

A character gets maced in the eyes. Police officer use a taser gun on a man. Character is punched out. 

Sex

Lead character daydreams in class, fantasizes about the girl he has a crush on, snaps out of it, and is shown making out with his smartphone. Teen girl makes reference to having "blossomed." 

Language

"Hell." 

Consumerism

Lyft is referenced three times, the logo is displayed on a social media post. Google Play logo displayed. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at a party. A girl throws up on another girl. People at the party act drugged. Characters snort cinnamon, character says, "Cinnamon messed me up." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alexander IRL is a 2017 YouTube Red teen comedy in which a loser teen and his slacker older brother try to throw a party and create an app at the same time. There's adolescent humor: jokes involving flatulence, sneezing on faces, stained underwear, developing breasts, and acting high from taking cinnamon. A character gets maced in the eyes, another gets punched out, and another is tased by a police officer. While drinking isn't explicitly shown, it's strongly implied with the dozens of extras standing around at a party holding cups and bottles. While the movie tries to make a perhaps satirical comment on how people, teens in particular, live more through their smartphones than they do "IRL," this message gets muddied in what amounts to an incoherent story and unfunny comedy. 

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What's the story?

In ALEXANDER IRL, Alex (Brent Rivera) is a nerdy high school computer whiz with a huge crush on popular girl Lo (Ryan Newman). His older brother EJ (Nathan Kress) is a struggling 20-something receptionist for a venture capitalist still living at home. When their parents leave town for the weekend, the two brothers decide to throw a party, but for different reasons. Alex wants to have the party to become more popular and to impress Lo, and EJ wants to try out a new app he has developed with Alex and his friends that cuts down on energy usage by powering down smartphones and therefore forcing teens to live "IRL." Besides nosy neighbors and a jock bully, the two must contend with a whole slew of obstacles before, during, and after the party, and find a way to succeed in their endeavors. 

Is it any good?

Apparently, YouTube Red is determined to put out the worst movies they possibly can, and with this one they keep this trend going. A teen comedy lacking a coherent storyline and even having a single "LOL" moment, Alexander IRL can't seem to decide if it should be a teen party movie or a satire of teens who spend too much time "on the grid." The actors playing the main characters do their best with what they have, but there isn't much anyone can do with trite jokes and banal observations.

This is amateur filmmaking at its absolute worst. There is no entertainment value to this, and the movie's themes contradict and double-back on themselves so much, it no longer remotely matters what the overall point is, assuming there even is a point. Like so many of their other releases, Alexander IRL is making it clear that YouTube Red really needs to step up its quality control. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teen party movies. How is Alexander IRL similar to and different from other movies in which teens throw parties when their parents leave town? 

  • How does this movie address smartphone use? Does it accurately reflect how teens use smartphones?

  • How realistic is this movie? Do the characters seem like people you know?

  • What would be the real-life consequences of throwing a party when parents are away?

Movie details

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