‘Somebody I Used to Know’ delivers shady protagonist, unconventional ending

Mimi Calzada, Senior Life & Arts Reporter

Written by Alison Brie and Dave Franco, “Somebody I Used to Know” follows Ally (Brie) as she travels to her Washington hometown after discovering her reality TV baking show will not be renewed for a third season. At a local bar, Ally runs into her high school ex, Sean (Jay Ellis), and the two share a nostalgic night together before Ally finds out Sean and his fiancé, Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), will be married within the week.

The film’s highlights lie in its casting, with both main cast members and supporting characters delivering charming performances. Even Brie’s performance as the morally questionable protagonist manages to have its likable moments as her character develops. Cassidy achieves the unexpected and sweeps audiences off their feet, making it difficult to root against her. To its benefit, “Somebody I Used to Know” avoids and even subverts sexist bridezilla tropes by making Cassidy one of the most likable characters in the film. Hilarious supporting characters include Ally’s friend and confidant Benny (Danny Pudi) and Sean’s brother Jeremy (Haley Joel Osment).

The script’s comedic attempts feel unnecessarily overexaggerated at times. Ally walks in on her mother having sex not once, but twice, and a scene on an airplane shows Ally attempting to navigate out of a window seat after her cat has an accident. She ends up spilling the cat’s excretions all over another passenger. These encounters don’t serve a significant purpose nor effective humor, they just seemingly intend to coax a reaction out of the viewer. 

The film does an adequate job of ensuring the audience knows Ally’s questionable actions rarely achieve her desired outcome. Throughout the runtime, Benny constantly questions her decisions and makes Ally confront what she’s doing. His character voices the audience’s concerns and keeps Ally from sowing complete chaos.

Despite the occasional cringey moment in the script, “Somebody I Used to Know” manages to pull off some genuinely funny moments. In a significant bonding moment between Ally and Cassidy, they decide to streak across a golf course, which marks not only a turning point in their relationship, but also a personal turning point for Ally. Up until that moment, the main character tries her best to appear put together and professional. But, with Cassidy’s help, she learns to embrace her free-spirited nature and gains a new motivation, which propels her goals for the rest of the movie.

Overall, “Somebody I Used to Know” differentiates itself from other rom-coms by questioning its main character’s morals and encouraging audiences to root for characters they would normally root against. While still delivering a film true to the beloved genre, audiences might be surprised at the unexpected ending.

3 streakers out of 5