SNL Casts Michael Keaton in One Very Strange Teen Movie
Mike O’Brien is one of SNL’s greatest secret weapons, a writer and performer whose truly unique voice shines through the show’s usual template. When he’s given total control of a digital short, it’s a genuine cause for celebration. His work feels less like just another sketch or parody, but more like an actual, full-fledged short film escaped into the show’s line-up.
The latest “Mike O’Brien Picture” is a strange and very funny riff on teen movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That, following a jock (O’Brien) who bets $200 that he can turn anyone in the school into Prom Queen. A hilarious misunderstanding sees him tasked with asking his nerdy science teacher (guest host Michael Keaton) to the prom and everyone proceeds to hit the usual teen movie tropes with just enough bizarre twists to make everything all the stranger and, somehow, all the sweeter.
Although Keaton and O’Brien are wonderful in their roles (which they play totally straight), it’s the weird details that stand out. Vanessa Bayer’s oddball wife and Kate McKinnon’s awkward student kill with only a few lines each. The short hits all of the beats you’d expect from a parody, but it’s directed and edited like an actual movie, not a comedy sketch. There is no else on SNL making stuff quite like O’Brien and we hope he never stops.