On a trip to her hometown, workaholic Ally reminisces with her ex Sean and starts to question everything about the person she’s become. Things only get more confusing when she meets Cassidy, who reminds her of the person she used to be.
Editing: Ernie Gilbert
Music: Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans
Cast: Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Kiersey Clemons, Danny Pudi, Olga Merediz, Haley Joel Osment, Julie Hagerty, Ayden Mayeri
Directors: Dave Franco
Writers: Dave Franco, Alison Brie
Cinematography: Brian Lannin
There’s a lot of Young Adult in the new Prime Video film Somebody I Used to Know. A rom-com that’s written by married couple Dave Franco and Alison Brie and also directed by Franco. But unlike Reitman’s film, Somebody I Used to Know is a primarily formulaic romance. Even with a last act that takes things in a surprising and well-meaning ending, it’s the drawn-out set-up and rom-com trappings holding this one back.
Alison Brie plays Ally, the host of a reality TV series that was just cancelled. Returning to her hometown to spend some time with her mother (Julie Hagerty), she bumps into her ex Sean (Jay Ellis), at the local bar. The two have a whirlwind evening that ends with her kissing him and him running away. When she heads to his house the following day to find out if the whirlwind of rekindled emotions is just something she’s feeling, Ally discovers that Sean is a week away from marrying Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons).
Any normal person at this point would walk away and do what’s best. Even when she’s invited inside for lunch by Sean’s mother (Olga Merediz) and spends an evening catching up with old friends like Benny (Danny Pudi reuniting for the first time with Brie since Community) and Jeremy (Haley Joel Osment), you’d think Ally would call it a day and leave her feelings at the door and spend some time with her mother the next day — the reason she’s here. But similar to Mavis in Young Adult, Ally takes everything as a sign that she is meant to be with Sean and pushes her way into the wedding party.
What Ally doesn’t expect is to begin to like Cassidy. Her vibrant and free spirit begins to remind Ally of herself when she was younger and the time she spent with Sean before calling her relationship off to follow her dreams into the big city. But even those didn’t pan out. As a young adult, she wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, and now she’s interviewing people about some faux romance on an island. Cassidy plays in a rock band; Ally remarks about her being a “no-bra-wearing show-off,” while Benny is quick to point out Ally used to be a lot like Cassidy when she was her age. And so Ally begins to form a narrative that Sean is only with Cassidy to fill the spot she left in his life.
Kiersey Clemons, who was fantastic in 2015’s Dope and would have had a mass breakout by now if it wasn’t for Ezra Millers’ behaviour and arrests delaying The Flash many times over, is the most compelling character in Somebody I Used to Know. She’s in a position where Ally was, at one point, about to give up a big part of her life to be with Sean. But watching her make different choices for Ally is what I cared about most. However, even with a solid performance from Allison Brie, Ally isn’t a particularly likable character at any point in the film, nor is she that interesting. Even with a revelation at the end of the film with a message I appreciated, it all wraps up in too neat of a bundle for characters who don’t all feel like they deserve it.