Somebody I Used to Know (Romance, Comedy) (2023)
Director: Dave Franco
Writer: Dave Franco, Alison Brie
Stars: Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Kiersey Clemons, Danny Pudi
After her reality TV show is likely getting cancelled, a showrunner moves back to her hometown, where she runs into her ex-boyfriend—They reconnect, but romantic intent is rebuffed, soon to discover the ex is actually about to get married.
As Dave Franco’s second feature after ‘’The Rental’’, a horror mystery—he teams up with his wife, actor Alison Brie to write an 80s, 90s inspired romantic comedy. ‘’Somebody I Used to Know’’ not to be confused with the Gotye song, provides a natural and organic narrative about experiencing changes after time away from home and falling back in love with an old partner. Filmed in Portland, Oregon, it has been produced by Black Bear Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment and Amazon Studios, who also distributed it on their streaming platform Amazon Prime Video.
An overworked showrunner travels back to her hometown as her Reality TV show is presumably cancelled. Having a drink at the local bar, she runs into her ex-boyfriend (Jay Ellis) as they reminisce about their past, sending mixed signals. Ally (Alison Brie) tries to rekindle their love which Sean rejects. Not being one to let things be, Ally visits his house and is instantly invited inside to join in on the festivities they’re hosting. Sean is getting married, but Ally isn’t easily abandoning her throws of romance.
Having worked in Los Angeles on a TV show and spending years from home, through Ally ‘’Somebody I Used to Know’’ presents the difficulty of reliving memories and seeing how others have changed as you’ve been away. But, also realising how you’ve changed and perhaps getting back in touch with your old self.
Providing some uniqueness in an oversaturated genre might prove difficult. Yet, with most romantic comedies showing commonality in predictability, ‘’Somebody I Used to Know’’ feels fresh in those ways despite attempting to be a bit of a throwback. Still, it goes through the motions in an unfortunate start homing in on a Franco brand of unfortunate comedy or toilet humour, literally and figuratively, before moving on from low-brow jokes, one of which being a jab at survival TV show ‘’Naked and Afraid,’’ which admittedly made me chuckle along with some wordplay. It only hits its stride once there’s more of a drama focus, sadly only coming in ways later. And at that point, it still manages to drag a bit too much for my liking.
Actors directing can go both ways, but there’s something to like in Dave Franco’s effort. ‘’Somebody I Used to Know’’ provides a rom-com that feels refreshing and would be one I can recommend for adult audiences since there’s a fair share of nudity. The swerves in the narrative provide enough of a difference to stand out.
I’m glad to get to know Franco’s latest project.