Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WHEN WE FIRST MET (Netflix)

WHEN WE FIRST MET is available on Netflix as of this morning at 2 AM, and if you are wondering how the hell I already watched it while still being at work at 8 AM, let say it involves my newborn son having a diaper blowout and then spitting up right after I cleaned that all up. Needless to say, to put him back to sleep and then get me tired again, it was 2:15 AM and I saw that this was just loaded onto the platform service. I decided to put it on, watch enough to get sleepy and then watch this rest this evening with a review tomorrow. Nope, the film kept my interesting and was kind of delightful where I watched the whole thing, went back to sleep at 4:20 and then woke up again at 6:20 to get my son ready for daycare and my ass ready for work. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, which managed to mix a Time Travel formula with the Groundhog Day formula and bring us something a little unique. I wholly recommend this Netflix watch.

And let’s not get into the, is Netflix a new movie dump kind of platform, where the studio executives don’t have much faith in the film so they sell it to Netflix to drop at anytime that they want. It’s not that they don’t think the film is good or even marketable, they just know that Netflix is the cheaper route, where a movie might make some actual profit instead of spending millions to give it theatrical distribution. That’s why I love Netflix, because instead of going Direct to Video and I only hear about the movie through word of mouth, I don’t even have to get up from my couch to discover it. This was a nice, funny, and light little discovery that is the perfect date night for anyone just wanting to spend it at home or in their apartment.

Anyway, a quick plot review without getting into two many spoilers, on Halloween in 2014, Noah (the hilarious Adavm Devine)  met Avery (Alexandra Daddario, True Detective Season 1 Episode 2) at a costume party, and they had a fun filled night just chatting up different things, playing fooseball, decorating pumpkins with a magic marker. When he goes in for the kiss though, he instead gets a hug, and she comments how great it is to have a really good guy friend. Flash forward to 2017, and he is at her engagement party to Ethan (Robbie Amell) wishing that he was the one about to get married to her. He gets drunk and goes into an old photo booth that he and Avery took pictures at on the night they met, puts in a quarter, and travels thru time back to that day. He now realizes he has another chance to win her, not just as a friend, but as a boyfriend. But he better be careful because soon after his actions he travels back to the day of the engagement party, and his actions might have some serious repreocussions.

Needless to say the first redo doesn’t go so well and so the movie takes the time travel formula and mixes it with Groundhog Day, to have us see more attempts by Noah to win over Avery. Thankfully, it doesn’t completely stick to the Groundhog Day formula and even offers up some excellent surprises along the way. For instance, I was surprised to see the number of days that Noah actually goes through to get smart and finally see what he was meant to see all along. It isn’t like Bill Murray where he relives it thousands and thousands of days. I also appreciate the movies’ sensibility and smartness. Needless to say he does get her in a scenario or two and if they somehow have sex the time travel Gods take him out of the past right before they do, and when he wakes up back to the present day, he doesn’t remember having sex or really any of the stuff that happens in between. This movie was clearly written with the #metoo movement in mind.

Adam Devine makes the movie. He is that one guy that was on Workoholics and Pitch Perfect 1 & 2 that actually hit it big, and he was great in Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates as well. According to reports, he was handed the script after being cast and they asked him to rewrite some of it based on his comedy style. When I heard that I thought it would be kind of like slacker Workoholics type humor, but no, Devine develops a kinder, gentler, yet still with that genuine goofiness that makes him him, and turns in a extremely likable character. The other stand out in this film is Shelley Hennig (who you know from Teen Wolf and Unfriended) as she plays Avery’s good girl friend Carrie that has some very interesting and enjoyable conversations both with Daddario’s Avery and Devin’s Noah. If I had one complaint about the film is that the rest of the people are shortchanged, including the main girl, Alexandra Daddario. I’ve seen almost everything she has been in, and unfortunately I am not convinced that she can actually act other than memorizing lines and repeating them when the film is rolling. Look, it might be the roles that she is cast in and the fact that none of these give her a true chance to shine and the fact that she is playing the same character in every film. She needs to get something juicier or I’m going to start thinking she is a permanent mediocre actress. Robbie Amell is just there to look pretty (he is much, much better in The Duff, be sure to check that movie out if you haven’t) and Noah’s friend Max, played by Andrew Bachelor, gets short changed as the friend that is a high ranking executive at a firm and is just a smooth talker to the ladies. The movie could’ve added maybe 15 minutes to give all the characters a more rounded fare share, but I enjoyed the movie so much I am willing to overlook that injustice.

Speaking of conversations, this movie has some very realistic and believable dialogue and genuine interactions between the characters, something which I also thought made the film. When Noah is talking with Avery or if Noah is talking to Max or if Noah is talking to Carrie, I don’t know whether some of it was ad-libbed, but it felt like real people having real conversations. I wonder if it was some of the script re writing to fit Devine’s comedy style, but it was simply, pun intended, devine. Anyway, so I don’t spoil anything else, please check this film out on Netflix, it’s funny and gets the job done romantic comedy wise without trying to copy cat the time travel or Groundhog Day formula too much. It is worth the watch for Adam Devine alone.

 

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