We’ve all been in that spot where a relationship we thought was gonna last forever spirals into flames. There’s a time to reflect and maturely process why it went sour. That’s not the immediate 48-hours, which are spent trying to find the shut off valve on your tears before getting hammered with your crew. That’s the premise of Someone Great, a film that’s what happens after the credits roll on most romantic comedies.
The reality is that happily ever after doesn’t come for years and in the interim it’s all about discovering yourself and becoming the best you first and foremost. But getting blackout drunk is the best way to start the rediscovery process.
Someone Great feels like being the designated driver while the rest of your friends forget all their inhibitions for one crazy, ridiculous night. It’s not nearly as much fun watching from the outside and stops being enjoyable long before it’s time to call it a night.
Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) just got dumped by her boyfriend, Nate (LaKeith Stanfield, Get Out) of nine years. She’s a mess and playing back the greatest hits of their relationship before she leaves New York and heads to California for her new job.
Rom-coms might never evolve from the mindset that a woman can’t have it all. She can either have a killer career, but no guy. Or a great guy, but joyless on her career path. Director/Screenwriter Jennifer Kaytin Robinson doubles up Jenny’s challenges as her dream job comes at the expense of her man and the close-knit bond she shares with her girls. On the surface it’s a little silly that the prospect of a long-distance relationship is too much for Nate in the era of Skype, FaceTime, etc.
To help get out of her funk, Jenny calls her BFFs Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow). Neither have mastered romance on their end either. Erin is struggling to label her relationship with her girlfriend Leah (Rebecca Naomi Jones) while Blair is in a painfully awkward, but comfortable relationship. But one thing Erin and Blair know is Jenny needs her road dogs with her for an epic, momentous night.
Robinson has the millennial voice down well as the dialogue frequently sounds like a disjointed series of hashtags and memes. There’s a certain obnoxiousness to the characters that can’t be described away as the side effects of a daylong weed and alcohol session. One of the bigger problems is Robinson has her three leads start at a 9 level of intensity without many cool down moments. Instead, she just has them go louder and wilder.
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Not that there’s a shortage of weed and boozing scenes. Granted a 20-something liver and stomach is more resilient than a 40-year-olds, but the amount of smoking and drinking in the first hour should have kept Jenny, Erin and Blair on the floor for the final half hour. At times the characters are basically seeing triple, then the next they’re waxing poetic and having deep reflections on their life before going off again.
Rodriguez, Wise and Snow have a fun chemistry and play off each other nicely. That shows up best during the more relaxed moments when they’re not smoking or drinking, which is far too rare. This is a talented trio, but Ibiza pulled this BFFs losing their minds on a crazy night of debauchery premise much better and without feeling like they were trying so hard. Given the 92-minute run-time, giving Erin and Blair full subplots probably wasn’t the best use of time. It’s a nice gesture in theory, but the film needed more of the trio and less on them splitting off from each other.
Ironically, I wanted more of the Jenny and Nate scenes. There’s a sweetness and realness to how Robinson portrays that relationship that’s inviting. As the movie played out, I kind of wished we got a movie featuring on their relationship and then this film as the follow-up. Stanfield has a genuine charisma so he’s easy to like.
Robinson almost makes him more of the sympathetic character as the flashbacks show Jenny was subconsciously checking out of the relationship before he ended it. This is a more mature way to play this out than the typical over-dramatized accounts we see in most rom-coms, but given the focus on Jenny, Nate should have been more of the ‘bad guy.’
As a rom-com, Someone Great tackles the subject from a curious perspective in the breakup phase, but as a comedy, it doesn’t deliver nearly enough laughs. There’s only so much humor you can milk out of people acting crazy because they’re high or hung over. This really could have been great, but instead settles on being a disappointment.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix