When We First Met is available to stream on Netflix beginning February 9th.
By I. Simon
Edge of Tomorrow was “Groundhog Day: The Action Movie.” Happy Death Day was “Groundhog Day: The Horror Movie.” Now, we have When We First Met, which is “Groundhog Day: The Raunchy Rom-Com.”
I’m not a fan of most modern day raunchy comedies. I don’t hate adult humor at all, but most modern R-rated comedies tend to prioritize unfunny humor over acting, characters, story, and such. Yes, once in a while we do get something like Superbad or 21 Jump Street, but those are uncommon these days. Anyway, going into When We First Met, I had no expectations whatsoever. I am not a fan of Adam Devine or Alexandra Daddario, but I had a small shred of hope that it could be fairly decent because writer John Whittington had previously worked on The LEGO Batman Movie, a film that I really liked. While When We First Met is not the disaster I was expecting, it’s unfortunately not a good film either.
Directed by Ari Sandel, When We First Met follows Noah Ashby (Adam Devine), who spends the perfect first night with the girl of his dreams, Avery Martin (Alexandra Daddario), but gets relegated to the friend zone. He spends the next three years wondering what went wrong – until he gets the unexpected chance to travel back in time and alter that night – and his fate – over and over again.
To start on a positive note, I surprisingly liked Adam Devine in this film. His character is kind of a jerk, but Devine’s amusing and charismatic performance elevates his character a bit. In terms of other positives in this film, Shelley Hennig and Andrew Bachelor are serviceable, and I actually laughed quite a bit. That said, just because a film is funny, doesn’t mean a film is good.
Unfortunately, the negatives far outweigh the positives. Alexandra Daddario and Robbie Amell give really bad performances here, but I cannot say that I am really surprised because I do not think that either one of them are competent actors. But the biggest problem with the film is the script. The script is full of obvious dialogue, a predictable narrative, and many cliches. The film also has thin characterization. We aren’t given reasons as to why we should root for Noah to win over Avery, other than that Avery is attractive. This is not helped by Devine and Daddario having little chemistry. They don’t have enough time on screen together, and as a result, I cannot buy them in any kind of romance. If the film tried to do something creative or “self-aware,” maybe I’d be more forgiving.
This film is also not very well directed. There’s nothing interesting or unique brought here. The shots have no weight to them. I did not buy any bit of chemistry between Adam Devine and Alexandra Daddario, as I have mentioned above. The editing is not awful from what I recall, but it is nothing noteworthy. The cinematography is very bland too. On a technical level, this film does nothing interesting in any way at all.
Overall, When We First Met is somewhat amusing, but it is not quite good. It is better than I expected, but that does not cut it as being a good film. If you’re very bored, and you just want background noise with a few decent laughs here and there, turn it on Netflix as background noise. Otherwise, I would not recommend When We First Met. It’s just a shallow, forgettable film.
I give When We First Met a C-.