Ah, weddings. We all remember them fondly, right? They provide the chance for loved ones to come together, unexpected reconnections between former flames, nude sprints through golf courses, and the potential collapse of the engagement entirely. Well, those last few might just be something that could happen in the charming, Oregon-filmed romantic comedy Somebody I Used to Know, but you get the idea.
Written by Alison Brie, who also stars, and Dave Franco, who also directs, Somebody I Used to Know is actually the second film the duo have made in the beaver state. Their previous film, the 2020 thriller The Rental, was shot in Bandon and Portland. It’s okay if you don’t remember that one—as it wasn’t very good, despite having a promising start. The latest Brie / Franco effort could not be more different in terms of tone.
While both this film and their previous one build off and subsequently subvert a classic premise, what makes Somebody I Used to Know work where The Rental did not is its substance and abundantly silliness. Even as there are some stilted moments, the charm of the cast carries through to the end.
It kicks off with Ally (Brie) returning home to Leavenworth, disillusioned with her work as a reality television producer. Down in the dumps, she runs into her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis), whose suave yet chaotic demeanor recalls Ellis' Lawrence character on Insecure.
The two catch up, roam around town, share what they missed about the other, and Ally wonders if she should give their relationship another shot. This is complicated when she learns Sean is about to marry infinitely cool Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons). Ally is, understandably, surprised, but she decides to become part of the wedding to get close to Sean.
Of course, her ulterior motives lead to escalating awkward encounters. The film finds the dilemma's sweet spot, playfully teasing out the characters' insecurities and their hopes for the future. There's a more audacious story hinted at in the trailer, in terms of a potential polyamorous relationship forming. Alas, Somebody I Used to Know takes a more conventional route.
The film is rather naked in its ambitions, and there aren’t many surprises to the plot, but there's joy to be found in the script's riffs on the fraught relationships, and it remains sharply funny where it counts.
Additionally, for those missing Community, Somebody I Used to Know reunites Brie with Danny "I’m on DuckTales" Pudi. The two have a strong chemistry that provides an understated, fun comedic energy. One wishes there were more scenes of them together, but what we do get is good. Where many modern comedies can be perplexingly light on humor, that isn’t a problem here.
Despite a litany of references to Seattle, the film was actually shot in Arch Cape and Gerhart. So while it is nice to see a local production succeed as well as this one does, it may ruffle the feathers of locals—both in Washington and Oregon—with some of its various place-specific inaccuracies. However, that's all water under the bridge for those seeking to be swept up in a humorous and heartfelt romantic comedy, which isn’t afraid to lay bare all the messy parts of ourselves.
Somebody I Used to Know streams on Prime Video, starting Fri Feb 10.