Review: Electra Woman & Dyna Girl a Charming (if Formulaic) Superhero Tale Now on DVD

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We’ve been talking about film adaptation of Sid and Marty Krofft’s 1970s TV series Electra Woman & Dyna Girl for a while now. The film, starring Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart as the titular heroes, was first released digitally via Fullscreen on June 7th, and is available on DVD today from Sony Pictures and Legendary Digital!

The film is set in a world where superheroes exist, but supervillains don’t. That’s because of a little thing called The Shadow War, a huge conflict in which superheroes and supervillains battled, and the villains were soundly defeated. Now, superheroes have less to do, so they fill their increased free tine with things like film careers and endorsement deals. Well, the fancy-schmancy ones do.

Lori, aka Electra Woman (Grace Helbig), and Judy, aka Dyna Girl (Hannah Hart), are neither fancy, nor schmancy. They are just two young women who want to make a difference. Neither of them has superpowers, but their heroism comes from their bravery, their desire to do the right thing, and the really cool (if sometimes in need of repair) gadgets Dyna Girl builds. However, when a convenience store robbery that they accidentally stop in too-gruesome a manner is recorded and goes viral, Hollywood comes a’callin’, and these two heroes from Akron, OH find themselves going to L.A. to meet a superhero agent.

Despite Electra Woman promising Dyna Girl that they will not go on “divergent character journeys” as a result of their new opportunities, they of course do, with Electra Woman totally (and in one scene, literally) drinking the Kool-Aid, while a skeptical Dyna Girl fights really hard against selling out. In the midst of their conflict as a duo, we see the rise of a new supervillain, the Empress of Evil, and so this dynamic duo — with the help of some kooky characters — have to settle their differences and work together to bring down this new threat.

Electra Woman & Dyna Girl is completely cheesy fun. Then again, so was the original show:

This new film makes the cheesiness relevant to the digital age, updating the humor so that the cornball commentary is current. I’m not using the words “cheesiness” or “cornball” as insults here, just so you know. They speak to an earnestness that I think is integral to these two characters. In order to believe that you can make a difference without superpowers and make the world a better place, you would have no place for irony or being jaded, and the cornball jokes in the film are being employed in this way–to set the tone, and to indicate the personalities of the two leads.

There are genuine laughs to be had, too, as this film is also a send-up of superhero conventions and tropes. Things like a male superhero duo having a sidekick called Wingman, for example. The humor also lands independently of superhero tropes: there’s one scene in particular that involves eating soup that I won’t spoil for you, but that when I saw it I busted a gut laughing because it was so ridiculous that it was hilarious.

What really makes this film worth seeing, though, is the relationship between Judy and Lori. From their conflicting opinions about “selling out,” to Judy being made to feel like she’s not an equal partner in their duo, watching two female characters navigate their friendship in this way was really cool to watch. P.S.: this film easily passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.

Of the two, I found myself really drawn to Hart’s performance as Dyna Girl and thought that she was the heart of the film. Helbig was great, funny as usual, and her chemistry with Hart is amazing to watch. However, Hart’s acting game was really on point. Perhaps it’s because I identify more with the friend who feels overshadowed/dismissed by her more popular friend, but I found myself really sucked into the story every time it focused on Judy. Her performance was grounded and real and kept a film that could’ve gone spiraling with over-the-top conventions firmly on the ground and rooted in real human emotions.

Electra Woman & Dyna Girl is absolutely predictable, formulaic, and not at all difficult to grasp. However, it is also entertaining, humorous, and a lot of fun, as well as being a great look at female friendships in our modern world. In addition, the DVD comes with 10 featurettes that either take you behind the scenes in the making of the film, or highlight the various characters with whom Judy and Lori interact.

So, if you love female protagonists, superheroes, and combining those two in a light-hearted film that makes for both a fun viewing experience and quite possibly a fun drinking game, you should definitely get yourself a copy of Electra Woman & Dyna Girl–which is out on DVD today and always available digitally on the platform of your choosing.

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Author
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.