While Netflix has spent the last two years releasing fan favorites, it was bound to hit a wall and release something that didn’t exactly hit the mark.
“When We First Met,” released on Feb. 9, is unfortunately one of those products that flopped.
As a die-hard fan of romantic comedies – think “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Love Actually” etc. – I have a pretty open mind when it comes to accepting plot inconsistencies and half-baked acting. However, this film surpasses even my willingness to accept the bare minimum from the actors and script.
My main points of contention with this film are the dialogue and the overarching plot. While I accept expositional dialogue is a common form of storytelling, this film relies heavily on it and undercuts the entirety of the movie with its repetitive nature.
The remaining dialogue among the characters feels incredibly stilted. It’s as if the director let the actors read over the script once and said, “OK! Let’s get to shooting!” I understand that most romantic comedies inherently lack a unique script, but I expected more from Netflix given that it has released content such as “Stranger Things” and “Dear White People,” – both of which delve into romance in an authentic way.
Without giving away too much about the plot, though the entire movie could be understood simply by watching the trailer, this movie inexplicably pairs time travel with the “Groundhog Day” premise to produce a movie that focuses on the main character, Noah (played by Adam Devine) going back in time, repeatedly, so he can change his behavior and “be the kind of man” his best friend Avery (played by Alexandra Daddario) will fall in love with.
I had hoped as a society we had agreed “Groundhog Day” was not to be repeated again and again and again … but apparently not.
The movie spends way too much time making these time jumps obvious, something that is incredibly clear for someone who is sitting there watching the movie.
A prime example of the forced time jump is at the beginning, when the audience is forced to endure almost two minutes of the “hit” song, “Sexy and I Know It,” by LMFAO – which ironically came out in 2011 – to signify that this portion of the film takes place in the past, as if the scrolling text that reads “October 31, 2014” didn’t make it clear enough.
The plot itself is essentially every rom-com recycled into a singular plot. Down-on-his-luck Noah is in love with his oblivious best friend Avery and the plot is driven by Noah’s inability to accept that Avery isn’t in love with him and plans on marrying someone else.
This film even employs the trope of a singular person of color with more than two lines as the suave ladies’ man and best friend of Noah – Max (played by Andrew Bachelor). And if the audience couldn’t rely on this trope enough, the movie capitalizes on inserting the quirky best friend of Avery, whose romantic life is in shambles, Carrie (played by Shelley Hennig).
Overall, this film reinforces the idea that women are simply objects to be “won over.” It lacks characters whom the audience can root for and essentially enforces the stereotype that men and women can’t be friends.
Grade: D, Might as well be titled “We Can’t Be Friends.” A movie that made me wish I could go back in time and never watch it.