The Stream: A story so predictable and unoriginal it references the movie it is ripping off.
The Big Screen: There’s a self-empowerment angle that’s a worthy theme sprinkled throughout.
The Final Bill: A derivative movie that doesn’t add much to the wedding sabotage genre.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Dave Franco
Writers: Dave Franco and Alison Brie
Stars: Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Kiersey Clemons, Danny Pudi, Olga Merediz, Julie Hagerty, Haley Joel Osment
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, language throughout and brief drug use.
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes
Production Companies: Amazon Studios, Black Bear Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment
Platform: Prime Video on February 10, 2023
Hey, Streamers! It’s mid-February, and it seems you either watch romantic comedies or you’re anticipating the Big Game. For those who aren’t into the latter, here’s some more counterprogramming courtesy of Prime Video and the minds of Dave Franco and Alison Brie, Somebody I Used to Know. It’s a “romantic” comedy involving wedding shenanigans, which we all love. Am I right??? Here’s whether you should know this somebody.
Dave Franco directs the screenplay he wrote with his wife and the movie’s star, Alison Brie. Somebody I Used to Know takes place over a few days in Leavenworth, Washington when Ally (Brie) returns to her mother’s home after her reality television show was canceled. While in town on day one, Ally predictably runs into her old flame, Sean (Jay Ellis), after ten years; and they seem to pick up right where they left off. Sean, of course, is hiding the big news of his impending wedding, which leads Ally to go full-on Julianne Potter (My Best Friend’s Wedding reference). Wedding sabotage hijinks ensue.
This storyline is so tiresome. How many times do we have to see a woman, usually, attempt to sabotage her ex’s wedding? Why would anyone think that’s going to turn out good for you in the end? Why would you even want someone who was easily manipulated by you? Is that satisfying? I have so many questions for this played-out genre.
Now, Somebody I Used to Know steps right into all of the problems with this genre of romantic comedy. It is predictable and unoriginal. In fact, it borrows so heavily from My Best Friend’s Wedding that I am now wondering if that was Franco and Brie’s objective. It is a shame that this movie feels so derivative because Alison Brie is generally a likeable screen presence. You can easily root for the characters she plays, even someone who is being so manipulative. The one good thing that Franco and Brie have added to this movie is a theme about self-empowerment. The screenplay revisits ideas about making oneself happy, and it is impactful at times. I wish those ideas had been more in the forefront than the wedding sabotage.
There really isn’t much else here. There’s a nice sing-along to look forward to. Haley Joel Osment and Danny Pudi get some good moments, but Osment, in particular, is so unnecessary. That’s all really. Eh. *Shrug*
Ultimately, Somebody I Used to Know is fine but too derivative, unoriginal and predictable to really be interesting. While the movie hints at other meaningful themes, it settles with the cliches of wedding sabotage movies to be its driving force. That’s pretty disappointing. Alison Brie is a pleasant on-screen presence and Haley Joel Osment gets some daffy moments. I’d only suggest a handful of popcorn for this if you need something to fill the time while waiting for Rihanna’s halftime show.