Somebody I Used to Know Review – another millennial midlife crisis film that drowns in quirk

By Marc Miller
Published: February 9, 2023 (Last updated: January 2, 2024)


Another millennial midlife crisis movie that drowns in romantic cliches and too much quirkiness.

Directed by Dave Franco, we review the 2023 Prime Video film Somebody I Used to Know, which does not contain spoilers.

Dave Franco‘s film Somebody I Used to Know is another millennial midlife crisis film that drowns in romantic cliches and oversaturates itself with too much quirkiness for its own good by the film’s end. Yes, Franco’s sophomore feature has the uber-talented (and under-appreciated) Alison Brie. Even a couple of actors in supporting roles are surprisingly effective. However, the script offers little reason to care about its predictable outcome.

Somebody I Used to Know Review and Plot Summary

The movie follows Ally (Brie), a once ambitious documentary filmmaker who now produces reality television series. The kind that manipulates contestants or subjects into blubbering revelations even though she is the showrunner of a cooking show called Dessert Island. Ally is the master of the “pregnancy pause,” where she asks questions and doesn’t say a word. Why? Because this produces deafening silence, the interviewee then must fill up the empty airspace with an emotional revelation people love to watch from the comfort of their couches.

Unfortunately, Ally gets the bad news her show has been canceled after three seasons. To try and comfort herself, she hits on her cameraman, who dismisses her for a night of heavy drinking with friends instead of a one-night stand. So, where does a girl go with a buried professional and personal ego? Home to Leavenworth, Washington, to see her mom, Libby (Julie Hagerty, still a national treasure), walking into a house where her mother has had the most active sex life since The Rossis.

Ally runs into her ex-fiance, Sean (Top Gun: Maverick’s Jay Ellis). They spend a wonderful day together, reliving old times. The spark is there, and Ally kisses Sean. However, he rebuffs our little Barbara Walters’ advances. Why? Because he is engaged to be married to Cassidy (Hearts Beat Loud’s Kiersey Clemons), a young woman who is estranged from her parents and is hyper-aware of the odd timing of Ally’s re-entry into Sean’s life and won’t take her hint she is not needed at the wedding. Despite Sean’s parent’s (played by Olga Merediz and Ted Rooney) insistence, she should attend all functions.

This is Franco’s second film, and he wrote the movie with Brie. The setup has a nice blend of conventional cliches and eccentric personalities that work well enough. Most notably, Danny Pudi plays Ally’s former best friend, Benny. He plays the dual role of snarky comments and a straight man that keeps the film grounded, to a point. Then there is Academy Award nominee Haley Joel Osment playing Sean’s brother, Jeremy, who plays the clingy and inappropriate comic relief. However, Haggerty delivers the film’s funniest line near the end.

The script, though, has its apparent flaws. Ellis is an excellent young actor, but his role is lifeless here, and Franco doesn’t do him any favors. The film’s most interesting part is the conflict between Ally and Clemmon’s Cassidy. The film, though, never follows through with conflict boiling points or even enters a reverse Chasing Amy territory, which would have been refreshing.

Finally, the film struggles to find a satisfactory ending and begins to overdose on quirkiness. Whether it’s choosing to streak naked in broad daylight across a gold course with your fiance’s ex or complete a documentary about nudists, it all comes across as needless filler. The subplot of Merediz’s Jojo insisting on Ally being part of every part of Sean’s nuptials rings false. Some may find it plausible, but most parents wouldn’t welcome back an ex-fiance, no matter how much of a member of the family she was at one time, which caused some continued abandonment trauma in their child’s life. Or, at the very least, be on guard, worrying their son’s heart may be broken again.

Is the 2023 movie Somebody I Used to Know good?

I’m sure it cannot be argued that almost everyone will enjoy Brie’s performance and the key supporting characters. However, for all that Somebody I Used to Know tries too hard to be quirky, Franco’s film also bends over backward to confirm audiences’ expectations for a conventional ending. There’s much to like here, just not enough for a recommendation.

What did you think of the Prime Video 2023 film Somebody I Used to Know? Comment below.

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