When We First Met - Review
Formulaic movies can be fun. It's like going into your favorite restaurant. You know exactly what you're going to get. But they also run the risk of being too repetitive. That is especially the case with a movie about repetition. That brings us to When We First Met - Netflix's newest original film. There will be spoilers below.
The concept is nothing new. A guy who is not happy with his life, finds a way to go back in time and change it. He can live it over and over again until he gets it right. That is the selling point, but it is also the films biggest problem.
Other movies like this have higher stakes. They are stuck in an endless loop, or they get driven so insane that they want to desperately get out of it so bad that they end their life, only to wake up in the loop again. Noah (Adam Devine) has none of that. He has a very simple way to go back to that one day, and there are no ramifications for him to keep using it, or anything. He has infinite tries, as long as he wants, to get it right. Of course, because of the films formulaic structure, we all know he had it right the first time.
There is no regret from using it. Not like Groundhog Day or even Click. It isn't like A Christmas Carol or Its a Wonderful Life either, where they come out completely changed. Noah is essentially the same person when he "puts things right", he just shifts his focus to another girl.
The film's biggest problem is that it is shallow. It wasn't convincing why he realized he liked Carrie, the talks they had weren't powerful enough. It was emotionally void. I am not sure if that was a product of editing, or if it was just never there. But while Noah went through a journey, he ended up in the exact same place, just with Avery's name crossed out, and Carrie's in its place.
The cast is charismatic and good looking. Alexandra Daddario and Shelley Hennig both are believable in their respective roles, while Robbie Amell and Andrew Bachelor play small roles that seem like in another draft would have been more fleshed out other than just foils and friends to help Noah in his circular journey.
With such a familiar premise, the film needs something to make it stand out. It doesn't have that. Netflix is actually the perfect platform for it. That is not a criticism of Netflix, it is a compliment - the positives to be found in the movie would be missed if in theaters. More people will find it here.
The movie is fine. It follows the recipe to a tee. The problem is, the chef didn't read the comments to see how to improve it. More salt, more sugar, less flour, etc. It is sufficient, but it stops there. If you have seen any movie ever it is utterly predictable. Again, that isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on how you feel, but I need more than white rice and water for dinner.
If you're fine with no depth, it can make for a fun date night movie. Just remember that if you don't like it, you can't get into a consequence-free photo booth and redo the day. So choose carefully.
When We First Met is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.