What would you do if you met your future self? How much would you want to know, and, more importantly, how much would you trust what they had to say? That’s the question at the center of Megan Park’s hilarious sophomore feature My Old Ass, in which an eighteen-year-old encounters her thirty-nine-year-old self during a mushroom trip. Similar concepts might have been explored before, but they haven’t been nearly as fun as this one.
Elliott (Maisy Stella) is first introduced as someone who does things the way she wants. She drives a boat with her two best friends, Ro (Kerrice Brooks) and Ruthie (Maddie Ziegler), and hits the dock multiple times, claiming that boating licenses aren’t a real thing. She lives on her family’s cranberry farm but couldn’t care less about its future, choosing to ignore her mother (Maria Dizzia) and younger siblings on her eighteenth birthday in favor of a drug-fueled night in the woods.
She’s startled when those mushrooms help her meet her future self (Aubrey Plaza), and even more surprised when she’s able to continue texting her after the trip ends. Unfortunately, her only key piece of advice has almost immediate consequences. Warned to stay far away from Chad (Percy Hynes White), she struggles to find a reason not to get close to the seemingly charming and harmless guy who’s just started working with her father for the summer.
This film might be worthwhile enough just for the scene in which the two Elliotts meet. The eighteen-year-old immediately points out her future self’s teeth as not matching hers, prompting a snarky response to wear her retainer, while the older Elliott tries to prove she is who she claims by showing a severed toe before remembering that hasn’t happened yet for her counterpart. Their ensuing conversations are extremely funny, with just enough hints of the future, like how no one’s allowed to have three kids and how much the older Elliott misses salmon, without distracting from the more important things, like how the teenager could really benefit from being nicer to and spending more time with her family while she’s young.
Stella, best known for her role on ABC’s Nashville, makes a fantastic film debut as the singularly sarcastic Elliott. Her onscreen energy is unique, yet so perfectly matched by Plaza as her more mature future self. The way she talks about the things on her mind, like her potential bisexuality after Chad is the first guy she’s attracted to and her questioning of much of what the older Elliott tells her, is supremely entertaining. She has great chemistry with White, who responds in kind to her many quips, the best of which is when she mimes slitting his throat when he waves at her, prompting him to look around to see who else might be nearby eliciting that type of reaction.
Park also began her career as an actress before helming The Fallout, starring White’s Wednesday costar Jenna Ortega and Ziegler. While that film was an extremely powerful and serious look at the aftermath and impact of a school shooting, her second film allows her to demonstrate just how funny she can be. The script is littered with clever humor and strong writing, giving memorable personality to Elliott’s golf-playing younger brother and the very protective Ro while still remaining focused on its main character. Stella and Plaza are particularly well set up for success, thanks to how Park writes to the way they speak, imagining the transformation of this person over years of life to paint two portraits of her.
In 2020, Max Barbakow’s Andy Samberg–starrer Palm Springs achieved the then-highest-ever sale at Sundance when Hulu bought the film. Audiences clearly love time travel concepts where they don’t have to think too hard and can just laugh. My Old Ass is more of the same, starting from a sci-fi premise whose rules are nerve fully explained or defined and only coming back to it when necessary, instead focusing on its well-constructed and appealing characters. My Old Ass, Park, and Stella are destined for greatness; It’s just a question of who’s going to get them there first.
Awards Potential: Golden Globe comedy nominations, but likely nothing more.
Box Office Potential: Depends on pickup!
Renewability: A sequel might not be needed, but with these characters, it would absolutely be welcome.
Overall Score: A-
My Old Ass just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Amazon MGM just picked it up for nationwide distribution.
Company: Creative Arts Agency
Cast: Maisy Stella, Percy Hynes White, Maddie Ziegler, Kerrice Brooks, Aubrey Plaza
Writer/Director: Megan Park
Producers: Tom Ackerley, Margot Robbie, Josey Mcnamara, Steven Rales
DP: Kristen Correll
Production Designer: Zazu Myers
Costume Designer: Tasha Goldthwait
Editor: Jennifer Vecchiarello
Score by: Tyler Hilton, Jaco Caraco