Cinema Review: When We First Met | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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When We First Met

Studio: Netflix
Directed by Ari Sandel

Feb 08, 2018 Web Exclusive
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There is one thing that’s apparent within the opening scene of When We First Met - Noah (Adam DeVine) is hopelessly in love with Avery (Alexandra Daddario) and is tragically stuck in the “friend-zone.” It’s a term that I personally hate using as it’s one of the most obvious and uninspired storytelling devices when it comes to the romantic comedy genre (and also reality.) Nothing is more aggravating and generally exhausting then having to sit through a film where you’re subjected to the supposed “nice guy” not getting the girl he thinks he deserves. In 2018, it’s extremely jarring to watch a romantic comedy that seems to center its entire plot around this ridiculous notion. When We First Met even has a time traveling Groundhog Day meets Big plot device that at first seems painfully lazy, as Noah discovers a magical photo booth. It can take him back three years earlier to the night he first met Avery as he repeats the night over and over again in failed attempts to win her heart and find out what went wrong. For Noah it would be an absolute nightmare if Avery ended up marrying the totally awesome and supportive Ethan (Robbie Amell), who she is genuinely in love with. Oh, the horror for Noah!

If it’s not obvious by now, I was really critical of this film within mere minutes. What I originally interpreted as poor quality in the beginning changed to delightful spoof. When We First Met manages to playfully subvert audience expectations as the generic plot devices come off more intentional, rather than as a lack of effort, as it pokes fun at traditional romantic beats. Noah’s goofy and self-deprecating confidence plays for some of the best laughs throughout the film. Noah’s lack of confidence, even with his own plan and performance as a potential suitor, is painfully obvious to him, especially. Even when he thinks he’s found the perfect outcome, he has put on what he lovingly refers to as “comfort weight.” There’s something charming and yet pathetic about Noah that had me rooting for him instead of despising him. Even when he’s the ultimate asshole, he’s still awkward and delightfully unsure of himself as a lover.

It might be reminiscent of every other romantic comedy you’ll find as you scroll through Netflix’s vast selection. It’s bland, cinematically, but it’s still fun and enjoyable to watch. Noah’s engaging wit and Carrie’s (Shelley Hennig) surprisingly magnetic presence create an instant chemistry between these two friends. While some might take Avery’s bland personality to be poor writing, John Whittington’s screenplay has other plans. When We First Met seems to set the audience up to maybe not see the chemistry between our two leads. Just because Noah thinks Avery is the only girl for him doesn’t mean Avery feels this way too. Maybe women don’t need to be shown how they should really feel about a man, and maybe men don’t need to see the “friend-zone” as a negative relationship. It’s actually refreshing to see a film that doesn’t center it’s story on Noah successfully tricking his dream woman into a life she’s probably not too eager to share with him. There are consistent genre conventions that appear throughout the runtime, but When We First Met manages to smoothly come together in the end with its romantic notions of fate and destiny. It may be cloyingly sweet, but it’s an adorable film to watch just in time for Valentine’s Day.


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Have you seen NEXTFLY SEO
February 15th 2018

I bet this is going to end with the main character realizing he should be happy for her and fix the timeline and let her get married.