SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW
February 10, 2023 / Prime
Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Kiersey Clemons
On a trip to her hometown, workaholic Ally (Alison Brie) reminisces with her first love Sean (Jay Ellis), and starts to question everything about the person she's become. Things only get more confusing when she meets Sean's fiancé, Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), who reminds her of the person she used to be
Written By Darren
Rating 4 out of 5
Somebody I Used to Know captures everything that audiences love about romantic comedies, putting a modern spin on a beloved formula with an excellent lead performance from Alison Brie.
It is no secret that I am a lover of romantic comedies, and the month of February never fails to deliver a healthy bunch of new titles in the genre. Joining the genre is the second directorial effort from Dave Franco, written by himself and his wife and star of the film Alison Brie. It’s a throwback to the romantic comedies of the 1990s, with a modern perspective on the characters that results in a truly entertaining and refreshing entry into the genre.
Ally is a workaholic showrunner in Los Angeles, but after her show is canceled, she returns home to visit her mother. There, she runs into her ex-boyfriend Sean, and after a night with him, begins to question her life decisions and the person she has become, debating whether she should give another shot at her relationship with Sean. After deciding to re-explore her relationship with Sean, Cassidy discovers that Sean failed to mention that he is engaged to his new girlfriend, Cassidy, of only a few months, and set to marry her that week. As Ally is roped into being the wedding videographer by Sean’s mother, Ally uses her position in the wedding to win Sean back at any costs before he marries Cassidy.
There is something completely endearing about this romantic comedy, with its main plot being modernization of Julia Roberts’s classic romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding, allowing a familiar feeling to wash over the audience. Viewers are treated to the usual comedic beats they have come to love about this genre, executed excellently by a truly talented cast that brings the film to life. But beneath the romantic comedy story template, Brie and Franco have written a film that stresses the importance of learning to love yourself and following your passions, which helps build a wonderful character arc for the film’s lead character Ally. By doing so, this romantic comedy distinguishes itself from so many others in the genre, allowing for a heartwarming ending to play out that may not be what the audience is expecting, but is the perfect ending for all of the characters in the story.
Having written the film, Brie understands the character of Ally like it were f herself and perfectly embodies Ally at every turn. While her comedic talents are on full display and used to great effect as we watch Ally try to win back her ex-boyfriend from his soon to be wife, Brie finds a true honesty that creates a lead character that you fall in love with over the film. Brie shares with us all the best of Ally, as well as her flaws, crafting a real person at the center of this romantic comedy that is different from the usual perfect characters we are used to meeting in the genre. It truly allows Brie to showcase her dramatic talents as an actress, and with the great performance she gives in the film, it begs the question why Brie isn’t being cast in more lead roles.
The supporting cast is important in the romantic comedy genre, as we need good love interests and memorable characters to assist our main character on their journey for love. Jay Ellis has wonderful romantic chemistry with Brie in all of his scenes, helping to create a palpable romance that the audience wants to root for at the beginning of the film. But, Ellis’s character is not the dream guy audiences envisioned their leading lady to end up with, and as the film progresses, Ellis captures Sean’s flaws and is not the dream Ally first thought him to be. At moments I was scratching my head wondering if Ellis was giving a good performance because I was not liking his character at all, but by the time his character arc reaches its final destination, there was no question in my mind that Ellis played his role exactly as he needed to. Kiersey Clemons is a bundle of joy mixed with a wickedness as Cassidy, bringing to life the battle between her character and Ally wonderfully. She has the perfect mean streak, but the comradery that she and Brie have on screen as the film progresses is easily one of the highlights of the film.
Reuniting with Brie from Community is Danny Pudi, who is hilarious as always, and he and Brie rekindle that great comedic timing they had in Community within seconds of sharing the screen. While she never has a large role in films, Julie Hagerty is absolutely hilarious as Ally’s mother, making the argument for why she is the perfect actress to play the lead’s mother in a romantic comedy between her performance here and in Ryan Reynolds’s Just Friends. And while they only have a single scene, Sam Richardson, Zoe Chao and Amy Sedaris are always a welcomed addition to any comedy and deliver some great laughs.
Simultaneously both honouring the legacy of so many great romantic comedies that came before it, while also providing a modern spin on a familiar story that sends the message that true happiness can be found without the fairytale romance we are used to this genre being overrun with, Somebody I Used to Know is easily the best romantic comedy of the year so far. Dave Franco and Alison Brie’s writing captures something truly hilarious at every turn with incredibly tender and heartfelt moments that will leave a massive smile on your face, all tied together by a charming lead performance from Brie, ensuring that audiences will have a wonderful time watching Somebody I Used to Know this Valentine’s Day.