By Chris dos Santos
11th November 2021

Representation has moved to the forefront of the film industry of late, and the difference between authentic representation and cash-grab representation is often debated. More often than not, this has been discussed in the promotion of 'Black Panther', 'Crazy Rich Asians', 'In The Heights' and even 'Eternals' - the latter of which I've heard some people say you can't criticise because the cast is diverse... interesting angle, but all of these have had the fact they have diverse and authentic casting on their side. But film often fails - both in front of and behind the camera - to provide representation of people with disabilities. 'Best Summer Ever' is one of the first to tackle both - with a history-making more than 50% of the cast and crew being people living with a disability.


'Best Summer Ever' follows the all-too-familiar story of two teenagers, Sage (Shannon DeVido, TV's 'Difficult People') and Tony (Rickey Alexander Wilson, TV's 'This is Us'), have the best summer nights (*wink*) at a dance camp, only to have to depart and return to normal life, apart from each other with only their memories. There are added issues; Sage doesn't have a phone because her mothers are... weed growers - you know, that classic story. She's constantly moving around, until one day she's decides she's had enough and - what do you know - she enrols at the same high school that Tony goes to. But Tony, who she knows as a dancer, is actually a star football player - and as head cheerleader Beth (MuMu) has the hots for him, tensions run high.

The film is just so generic and formulaic that there is nothing here new outside of the land mark 50% of the cast and crew being disabled.

One of the greatest successes of 'Best Summer Ever' is the fact that not once in that plot summary is disability mentioned. The movie rarely refers to it and its terminus celebration. Unfortunately, the film is just so generic and formulaic that there's nothing new here outside of the fact that more than half the cast and crew are disabled.

Also, this film is a musical - which was the reason I saw it - and admittedly, the genre often lends itself to a formulaic script and how poppy they sound. Only the opening song takes place at the summer camp, and the film could have benefited from staying in that location longer - especially for the musical element to really sign through.

'Best Summer Ever' is a celebration for representation, but unfortunately, that party doesn't translate to the script or the film's musical elements. You can tell the cast and crew had fun, but its story really needed more refinement.

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