I love that Netflix is investing in more than kick-ass tv-series. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the time I fire up Netflix is to watch a show. Mostly that’s because most of the films on Netflix are a bit old. But the times, they are a-chanchin’. Netflix is getting more and more original content movie-wise. Bright, Mute and The Babysitter are all Netflix originals. And sometimes Netflix gets lucky by getting a film like Annihilation. And now, they’re adding a romantic comedy to their repertoire with When We First Met. Obviously, I had to see it.
When we first met the plot
It’s a romantic comedy, so there’s not much plot. But, the big twist is that this is a romantic time travel comedy. It’s a bit of a mix between Big, 13 Going on 30 and 17 Again, but with the focus on ‘getting the girl’ instead of re-inventing yourself. Main character Noah only goes back in time three years, so all the characters are played by the same actors in 2014 and 2017. The difference with the other films mentioned, is that Noah repeatedly time travels, instead of just once. Here’s what the IMDb synopsis says:
Noah spends the perfect first night with Avery, the girl of his dreams, 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 change that night – and his fate – over and over again.
For a romantic comedy, it’s certainly a very original take on things. We start off at Avery’s engagement party… to Ethan, not Noah. After that, we get a flashback to when they first met: at a Halloween party in 2014. This is the best meet cute, as they just accidentally meet and hit if off. They have the best Halloween together. But, obviously, they don’t end up together. Enter the magical time travel machine: an old fashioned photo booth. Noah gets to travel back from 2017 to 2014, to get the girl of his dreams.
The cast makes this film
The strenght of When We First Met isn’t the plot – I knew where it was going almost from the start. And that’s fine, because with a film like When We First Met, you pretty much know what to expect. Although the added time travel is pretty damn cool and not your standard romantic comedy element. The film currently holds a 6,4 on the IMDb and a 61% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and that’s pretty much what I would give it. So I agree with the majority here. The critic score on RT is a 39% though… ouch.
But, what makes the film better are the five principal cast members. Robbie Amell has the smallest part as super good guy Ethan. One of the best scenes of the film is him meeting Avery in the supermarket. Shelly Hennig has the part of sarcastic best friend to Avery; a role each (romantic) comedy has and needs. Amell and Hennig don’t have the leads but the film wouldn’t and couldn’t be the same without them. Noah’s best friend is Max (Andrew Bachelor), who is pretty much the comic relief of the film; another stereotypical but unmissable part in any comedy.
The two leads are Alexandra Daddario as Avery and Adam Devine as Noah. Daddario is the perfect female lead for a film like this; her Avery is sweet and pretty much the girl next door. She deserves love, either from Ethan or Noah. And Adam Devine is s surprising lead, as he mostly is the aforementioned comic relief or sarcastic best friend. Luckily, he has great chemistry with all the other four people. I do get the feeling that Devine is something of a gimmick or a one trick pony, as all his roles (well, the ones I saw anyway) seem a bit of the same. He’s the goofy man-child who makes faces a lot and always ends up singing at some point. I like the guy, but I would love to see him play someone different sometime. Noah is yet more of the same.
Predictable but fun
If you’re looking for something different, don’t put on When We First Met. Besides the time travel element, it’s a pretty basic plot with a high predictability rate. I highly recommend watching The Babysitter if you’re looking for a cool very different comedy. It even stars Robbie Amell and Andrew Bachelor as well! But if you’re in the mood for something cheesy and fun, this is the film for you. You don’t need to think about hard plot twists or difficult story lines. And it has a running time of just over an hour and a half so that’s a big plus for a film like this.
I hope Netflix will bring out more original films. If we all watch the ones they already have, chances are, it’ll happen. And while When We First Met isn’t the best romantic comedy, for a first shot it’s a good effort by Netflix. I agree with the IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes viewers and not the critics. So whenever you have 1,5 hours to spare and aren’t in the mood for two episodes of a tv-series, why not give this time travel comedy a shot? Here’s the trailer if you’re not convinced yet: