February 9, 2023

SCREEN | Alison Brie Runs Into 'Somebody I Used to Know'

"You're not going to pull some Julia Roberts [...] type sh*t, are you?"
Alison Brie Danny Pudi Dave Franco | Somebody I Used to Know | Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Studios / Black Bear Pictures
Real-life married couple Alison Brie and Dave Franco co-wrote with the former starring in and the latter directing the pleasant romantic comedy for singles, Somebody I Used to Know. Brie as Ally does her best at channelling a peak '90s Julia Roberts as a career-driven reality television producer with a destructive streak trying to rekindle things with an ex when she visits her hometown.

Jay Ellis and Kiersey Clemons co-star as Ally's titular ex-lover and his young punk rocker fiancée. A typical love triangle premise ensues in atypical fashion when she happens to visit on the week of their planned nuptials after her TV show gets cancelled. What's most refreshing about the film is its sly awareness of its inherent rom-com genre troupes with characters even recognizing or questioning her motives in crashing her ex's intimate wedding.

Where most romantic comedies fall apart is the third act when dubious tidy resolutions or big gestures are forced into an all too convenient happy ending. This film resists those urges while also adhering to necessary plot developments to keep the seemingly predictable story flowing smoothly. Somebody I Used to Know is also refreshingly career-focused and does not reward bad behaviour by its characters, especially certain manipulative traits from its male lead.

Brie and Franco make Somebody I Used to Know a familiar yet charming inversion of My Best Friend's Wedding's well-worn romantic comedy premise. How it both plays on and pivots on its classic genre conventions and comic setups further builds romantic dramatic tension as we start to truly invest in the characters' love lives.

Somebody I Used to Know is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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