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When We First Met

When We First Met

(Ari Sandel)

I made the mistake of reading a bit about this film while I was watching it. I had no idea that it was a time travel movie. Did I just make the mistake of telling you too? I'll say no and go with the fact that I'm an idiot as my defense. When We First Met is a romantic comedy that feels like a mix between Groundhog Day and Click and it does a good job of separating itself enough to feel like its own thing.

Noah meets the girl of his dreams, Avery, at a Halloween party. They hit it off instantly having what he calls, the best night of his life. He goes in for the kiss at the end of the night and receives a hug and the moniker "friend". Flash-forward 3 years and she is now getting married to a handsome, athletic all around nice guy Ethan. Depressed, Noah gets drunk at the engagement party and Avery's roommate Carrie has to drive him home. He forces her to drive him to his work instead, which happens to be a bar. In his sorrows he sits in a photo booth, the exact one he and Avery used 3 years ago and wishes he had another chance when they first met. Boom. He time travels to that exact night and is given another chance to woo the girl of his dreams.

What makes this film a little more interesting than the generic 'Groundhog Day' rip-off is that I also mentioned it feels like Click. In that film Sandler's remote is broken on fast forward and he misses years of his life and has to patch together what has happened in his past to understand why he is where he is now. This film incorporates the same thing. Each night Noah tries something different to bag the girl of his dreams and after each night we go forward 3 years and see where they would have ended up in each scenario. In one scenario Noah plays the "bad boy" angle and they make out that night. Flash forward 3 years and he wakes up in bed beside her. He's excited, but when he goes to show affection she turns away. Apparently their relationship has turned into "booty-calls" and nothing more. This is heartbreaking for Noah as he wants a more tangible relationship.

Each time he goes back he tries something new to win her over until he realizes something and does that one thing that makes things "good" in the end. This is telegraphed very early and comes as no surprise when it happens. Adam Devine plays Noah, he was given a chance to re-write aspects of the script to suit his comedy style, most of it works. He's a likable guy in the role and manages to showcase a little bit more than just his comedy chops. This film actually made me realize how bland Alexandra Daddario is. I'm not sure if it is just how the character is suppose to be perceived or her, I hope it's the former because it works in favour of the film. I really liked Shelley Hennig as the roommate. She had a natural feel, despite one common phrase that became annoying. She was also good in the terrible film Unfriended, so I hope to see more from her in the future.

When We First Met is a typical romantic comedy that checks off all the boxes, but does it in a slightly fresh way. I didn't mind it even though I usually hate that kind of stuff. The material is a fresh enough take on an old road map that you forgive some of the short comings.