Somebody I Used to Know’ Review: Alison Brie and Jay Ellis Star in a Refreshingly Different Kind of Rom-Com

Ally (Alison Brie) is an overworked TV producer whose existence revolves around a truth television display about dessert. The gig is a much cry from her dream of making documentaries, however it will pay the payments and gives her, a Los Angeles transplant from Washington state, a experience of purpose. When Ally’s show gets cancelled by the community, she returns to her small, picturesque place of origin of Leavenworth to recalibrate. What she unearths as a substitute are reminders of her beyond and the life she ought to have had.

Somebody I Used to Know, written by means of Brie and her husband Dave Franco (who additionally directs right here), is a sharply conceived and smart romantic comedy — the sort of film that might inspire hasty accusations of trying too difficult to be one of a kind. It takes the narrative skeleton of the genre and enhances it with its personal subversive factors. The writing — clever but now not showy — has echoes of Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally. The visible language hews towards the dusky and moody aesthetics of current indies than the glittering fluorescents of, say, Marry Me. These to begin with discordant traits in the end meld well collectively; it’s a low-key film with a whole lot of heart.Within the first few hours of landing in Leavenworth, Ally runs into ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis) at a local pub. Their first of all awkward stumble upon slips into some thing extra secure. Sean invites Ally to lunch, which will become beverages, which becomes dinner, which will become an night drunkenly cavorting via their metropolis. At the stop in their nearly 12-hour hangout, Ally begins to 2d-bet her life choices. She confesses to Sean her misgivings about moving to Los Angeles to pursue dreams that in no way materialized. He admits that he has also puzzled what could have occurred to them.

But there’s no room to explore the “what if” due to the fact Sean is getting married. He doesn’t tell Ally that outright: In authentic rom-com-leading-man fashion, Sean is a coward. It’s best while Ally drives to his residence tomorrow and stumbles upon his engagement birthday party that she realizes Sean is getting married. And his fiancé, Cassidy (the effortlessly cool Kiersey Clemons), reminds Ally a variety of her more youthful self.

The fingerprints of classic ’80s and ’90s romantic comedies are throughout Somebody I Used to Know, whose crucial plot — of Ally looking to win returned Sean — is reminiscent of My Best Friend’s Wedding. But there’s also an obvious choice to form the film for present day audiences (suppose season 2 of Love Life) and feature it stand on its very own. Brie and Franco prevail on that front by tethering their narrative to some thing greater than a easy love tale and peppering their screenplay with the type of sly, clever humor that recollects Brie’s days on the tv display Community. (It also facilitates that her brilliant costar Danny Pudi returns right here to play Benny, Sean and Ally’s closest buddy and our source of comedic remedy.)

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