Watson Reviews: When We First Met

In my review of The Cloverfield Paradox and on the latest episode of the podcast, I noted a concern of Netflix’s paucity of quality original films; noting they risk diluting their premium reputation earned by high-end TV shows such as Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black.

A new romantic comedy starring Pitch Perfect funnyman Adam DeVine dropped Friday. Could it reverse the concerning Netflix quality trend?

Surprisingly, the answer was yes. Now this was a Netflix original and not ever intended as a theatrical release like Cloverfield, but this is first Netflix exclusive film I’ve seen that would have been a strong film if viewed on the big screen.

When We First Met is a clever take on the Groundhog Day “live the same day” mini-genre. DeVine’s lovesick Noah falls into the friend zone with the beautiful Alexandra Daddario (that one clip on the Internet from True Detective) and travels back in time via a Zoltaresque Photo Booth to try to turn the tide of the day they met.

DeVine absolutely carries the film with a funny but sweet performance. I’ve never seen anything but a smarmy and ironic comedy style from DeVine, but here he stretches his chops and really conveys the sense of loss from missing out on that one perfect moment.

Where the Bill Murray classic is more about teaching a bad person a lesson in the realm of what should be, When We First Met explores what might have been.

The film smartly explores love, fate, and the difficulty of jogging in leather pants. Just like My Dinner With Andre.

This was a quality, lower budget rom com, but in this one 95 minute movie, I extracted enough value to justify my $13 monthly Netflix subscription. That’s the movie experience Netflix is aiming for. I’ll stick around long enough for them to charge my credit card again next month…

Overall, I give WHEN WE FIRST MET 8.5 “Dunking Doughnuts” out of 10.

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