Searchlight’s satirical comedy-drama comes from Quinn Shephard, the actress, writer, and filmmaker behind the 2017 film “Blame.” Shephard’s directorial debut also told the story of an ethically fraught public lie, following the saga of two students (Shephard and Nadia Alexander) and the substitute teacher (Chris Messina) who ends up entangled in their lives. While that was an intense psychological drama, “Not Okay” looks like it’s going to ratchet up the levity with its extended take on influencer culture.
It also looks like a whole new turn for O’Brien, who replaces his typical affable everyman persona with a bleach-blonde hairdo, dozens of fake tattoos, and an impressively ridiculous blunt. Physically, his character looks a little bit like a Pete Davidson or Machine Gun Kelly type, a far cry from his roles in films like “The Maze Runner” and “Love & Monsters.”
“Not Okay” is actually one of several satirical send-ups of modern young adult life making the rounds in 2022. “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” an A24 slasher satire about a group of annoying Zoomers getting murdered at a party, is set to release on August 5. Meanwhile, “Emergency,” now on Prime Video, follows two Black college students as they attempt to complete a frat party tour without being subjected to police violence. Despite being comedies, all of these films about 20-somethings include surprisingly bold and dark plot points. We’ll find out how well “Not Okay” balances its drama and comedy when it debuted exclusively on Hulu on July 29, 2022.