Ally (Alison Brie) is living her best life. Working in television, Ally is about to wrap up her third season of the reality TV series Dessert Island. However, her dream career is about to get a shake-up when she’s informed that the show’s ratings have slowly decreased. After the third season scores at an all-time low, the upcoming next season is cancelled by upper management.
Feeling hurt and disappointed, Ally decides to take a break and refresh her mind. She travels back to her hometown to visit her mother but soon bumps into her first love, Sean (Jay Ellis), while visiting a local cafe. Ally’s world becomes even more confused when she starts questioning life and her past choices, which have made her the person she is in the present day. Has she always made the right choices in life, and was she wrong to let Sean go? As Ally and Sean begin to travel down memory lane and spend time together, she becomes determined to pick things up where they left off, except there’s one problem- Sean has a fiancé, Cassidy (Keirsey Clemons). Sean and Cassidy are set to commence their wedding shortly, which is not ideal for Ally, given her intentions. Will she stand by and let Sean go ahead with the wedding, or will she do everything within her power to win back the love of her life?
Somebody I Used to Know is best described as a crude comedy with romance and, surprisingly, some drama mixed in. For the most part, though, this is a rom-com. Following similar concepts previously seen in cinema, this is reminiscent of titles such as Sweet Home Alabama and, more importantly, My Best Friend’s Wedding, which the film even references gracefully with a smile.
As for performances, like her work in the hit comedy series Community, Alison Brie is a delight here. Her comedy and drama are on point, and I found myself laughing quite loudly through the first act because of her comedic line delivery despite a few lines that feel slightly unfitting. Dave Franco (also Alison Brie’s husband) shines in his directional work here, and his craft behind the camera cannot be faulted. The side performance from actor Danny Pudi is also a notable standout.
The pacing is interesting here. I found myself continually engaged and felt invested for the entire runtime, but I was surprised by the change in tone from comedy to drama. The second act revealed the love story and increased the drama. I admired the film’s ability to shift in genres while still offering the odd gag here and there. While I still found elements of the third act enjoyable, sadly, it is weaker, including the final conclusions, which didn’t sit right with me. I felt as though I wanted something more rewarding and straightforward, considering the film’s messages, and I also wanted to understand specific character choices and outcomes better.
Overall, those seeking a rom-com with a few laugh-out-loud moments coming from randomness and crudeness may have their desires fulfilled by Somebody That I Used to Know. However, comedy isn’t the film’s only strength. It’s also a touching drama that’s well-acted by the lead Alison Brie and well-directed by her real-life husband, Dave Franco. Supporting actor Danny Pudi also shines brightly here. In the end, I enjoyed the film and its familiar vibe similar to My Best Friend’s Wedding. Unfortunately, the third act was weaker as I wanted something more rewarding than the unclear or uncertain finale. I was left wanting to understand the leading character’s choices better. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of randomness, charm and fun to fill one’s evening delightfully. Somebody I Used to Know (2023) is Available on Prime Video from February 10th.