Life & Culture

Somebody I Used To Know Film review: A romance that we’ve all seen so many times before

Dave Franco and Alison's Brie's film feels like a pastiche of genre rather than a fully fledged romcom


Somebody I Used To Know
Cert: 15 | ★★★✩✩

Jewish actor Dave Franco — little brother of the more famous James — is back behind the camera in his second outing as director. Somebody I Used To Know stars his wife, Community and Mad Men’s Alison Brie.

They co-wrote the film, and it’s meant to be inspired by the couple’s own dating history. It is being released by Amazon Studios just in time for Valentine’s Day. And it’s as clichéd as a single red rose.

Busy, successful TV producer Ally finds herself at a loose end when her once popular reality show is cancelled by the network. On a trip to her hometown to reconnect with her mother, Ally reunites with ex-boyfriend Sean (played by prolific film and TV actor Jay Ellis) and starts questioning her life choices.

Ally’s obsession with repairing her once loving relationship with Sean and also his welcoming family is made even worse when she meets Sean’s fiancée Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), a bright free spirit who reminds her of what she has missed by moving to LA to pursue a career in film and TV.

Clearly inspired by the likes of My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sweet Home Alabama, and every other holiday movie set in an idyllic small American town, Somebody I Used to Know often feels like a pastiche of genre rather than a fully-fledged romcom.

There are some decent performances throughout, with Kiersey Clemons being the real revelation here, and it’s nice to see Brie reunited with her former Community cast-mate Danny Pudi —Abed in the cult comedy show — playing one of Ally’s oldest friends, Benny, who acts as a buffer between her and her determination to ruin Sean’s wedding.

While nobody can accuse it of successfully reinventing the genre, Somebody I Used To Know does exactly what is expected from it, but in the end I wanted to revisit those much-loved films it tries so desperately to emulate.

I just wish it had shown a bit more ambition to go beyond the tired old tropes. Then I might have fallen in love.

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