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Jen Hartmann Gruppe

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Johan Rhodes
Johan Rhodes

Somebody I Used To Know (2023)

Brie and Franco draw on an exceptional cast of supporting characters, including Hagerty, Merediz, Amy Sedaris, Brie's "Community" co-star Danny Pudi as Sean's best friend, and Haley Joel Osment as Sean's immature brother. Brie and Ellis have such appealing chemistry that we instantly believe in their whole backstory (we get a glimpse of their earlier time together in an old video), and Clemons continues to impress as both actor and singer. Brie is, as always, enormously appealing. She shows us that what matters here is not Sean, the person she used to know, but herself, the one she's just beginning to understand.

Somebody I Used to Know (2023)

by Walter Chaw My Best Friend's Wedding is vile, happy-go-fucky bullshit that polishes the sociopathic behaviour of a solipsistic narcissist to a patently plastic Julia Roberts sheen. It stinks of flop sweat and forced artificiality, and it made somewhere in the neighbourhood of a kabillion dollars because it traffics in exactly the sort of soft-racist, misogynistic horsepucky favoured by a demographic that likes blended drinks and doing mall walks. About 30 minutes into Dave Franco's Somebody I Used to Know, someone confronts someone else by saying, "You're not doing some My Best Friend's Wedding thing, are you?" And, well, she is. Credit for knowing just how unbearable your film is, I guess, this comedy of cringe where "naturalism" means ending every statement as a question and the main character is a pastiche of insufferable tropes who decorated her childhood room with a Sleater-Kinney poster, a pen-drawing of Joni Mitchell, and the "Have a Nice Daze" Dazed and Confused and American Movie teaser posters. Get it? That real clear picture of who this person is and who the people sketching her are? The song over the closing credits is Third-Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life." Got it now? There's a Chance the Rapper sighting, too. Run. Fucking save yourself.

Ally (Alison Brie, one half of the team responsible for writing this; husband Dave Franco is the other) is a repulsive human being who, after her reality program is cancelled, returns to her hometown to snivel, whine, act like an entitled, garbage person, and maybe hook up with her ex-boyfriend, Sean (Jay Ellis), whom she clearly abandoned to pursue her dream of being a showrunner. Ally is also an unforgivable monster to her very sweet mom, Libby (Julie Hagerty), and the film isn't much kinder, making Libby the butt of an ancient joke as she's constantly walked in on having sex by her "surprise, I'm home!" daughter. (These assholes think every older woman now is fucking Jennifer Coolidge.) If Somebody I Used to Know were a To Die For conceit in which the centre of the film were a horrorshow of feckless ambition, that would be one thing. But Ally is the ostensible hero of her life, the one who will give Sean's fiancée, Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), lots of good white-woman wisdom at the moment Ally's plans to sabotage Cassidy's engagement are about to succeed. The one whose self-described "tits and bush" are so irresistible to poor, Black Sean that he's ready to blow it all up. The one who, as an act of real largesse, gives over showrunning duties to her Persian-American assistant (Ayden Mayeri), who bursts into tears at the "honour" of receiving praise from a person who abandons her responsibilities and takes her for granted. The one who, as a grace note to her development, deigns at the end to accept a date from her Asian-American cameraman (Kelvin Yu)--immediately after she has, arguably, sexually harassed him in their workplace. Ally is good, you see. Adorably confused, but good. I'm pretty sure you know an Ally, too: It's never her fault, it's just that she deserves things.

Somebody I Used To Know reminds viewers that they can still go back to being who they used to know and find that spark inside of them that ignites their dreams and passions. This movie is about finding yourself (perhaps again) and learning to be be comfortable in your own skin. It is inspiring, emotional, beautiful, and utterly charming. The perfect mix of humor and heart, this is a must see.

It's good to know that the media are now normalizing interracial couples. I've never seen Alison Brie kiss someone of a different race before. Even though I don't usually like comedies, I might go see this one just to see Alison Brie and Danny Pudi work together again. Their chemistry together shows that they are real-life best friends. I miss how they used to joke around with each other when I was younger back with their community days. 041b061a72


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