Join Soundtrack Stream to Research the article “Someone Great review – another run-of-the-mill romcom from Netflix | Film”
Someone Great, a new Netflix original comedy written and directed by the first-time film-maker Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, is the kind of movie that’s both undeniably of its time and still curiously rote. At times it plays like an uninterrupted torrent of memes and millennialisms, as though its attention to the parlance and particularities of contemporary urban life might disguise the fact that it’s otherwise a standard, paint-by-the-numbers buddy-romcom, in which three girlfriends – two are on the heels of a breakup; the third has sworn off committed relationships – ring in their sisterhood and their sorrows at a trendy music festival.
Characters juul ad nauseum. They compare respective houses in Hogwarts. They say things like “slide into my DMs” and “tastemakers’ brunch” or name-drop Liz Lemon and Lady Bird. There’s potential here for a kind of zeitgeisty farce – The Sweetest Thing revamped for the age of memes – and yet Someone Great manages to undermine its capacity for novelty at almost every turn, remaining sadly compliant with the beats of the genre it seeks to uproot.
And those beats, they arrive when you most expect them: the meditative, post-breakup walk in the park, set, as ever, to a soothing acoustic guitar; the epiphanies about men, friends, growth and independence; the expository supercut of pictures and text messages that tells the story of a relationship (and is soundtracked, literally, by Lorde’s song Supercut). The only parts of Someone Great that don’t seem reverse-engineered by a Netflix algorithm are the performances, which tap into the delinquent buoyancy of a quarter-life crisis and very nearly defy the movie’s symphony of cliches.
Chief among them is Gina Rodriguez, whose comic timing is instinctual and sharp, a bit Aniston-like in its easy charm. Playing Jenny, a music journalist whose new job at Rolling Stone requires her to move to San Francisco and end her nine-year relationship with Nate (a reliably solid Lakeith Stanfield), Rodriguez proves her leading-lady bona fides as confidently as she did on six seasons of the CW sitcom Jane the Virgin, which airs its series finale this spring. The punchlines aren’t anything to write home about, but Rodriguez delivers them with exuberant spontaneity, or while drinking bourbon from a pretzel straw. “Lies-ah Minnelli,” she says to her best friend Erin, a relationship agoniste who insists she hasn’t caught feelings for the woman she’s been dating but whose behavior suggests otherwise.
Erin is played by the charismatic DeWanda Wise, who hit the big time in 2017 with her leading role on Netflix’s TV adaptation of Spike Lee’s film She’s Gotta Have It. Wise and Brittany Snow – rounding out the trio in the sweet-and-sour sidekick role that’s become her stock-in-trade – are given substantive storylines of their own, preventing the movie from stewing too long in Jenny’s post-split ennui, which is mostly assuaged, as it were, by drugs, alcohol and tickets to Neon Classic. That’s the name of the music festival where the women plan one final hurrah before Jenny moves out west – it also might have been a better and less willfully abstract title for the film, but I digress. First, anyway, they have to get to Neon Classic in one piece.
Along the way they encounter RuPaul, who – clears throat – plays a clairvoyant molly dealer named Hype, the owner of multiple baby sharks and three obedient chihuahuas. Mother Ru has the funniest cameo in a movie featuring several: there’s also Rosario Dawson, as a fashion magazine snob, and the up-and-coming comedian Jaboukie Young-White, who glides around an unreasonably spacious SoHo loft on a hoverboard, as if plucked straight from a thinkpiece about millennials killing such-and-such industry. Robinson’s zippy writing traffics in these kinds of caricatures, but too often the very fact of exaggeration functions as a substitute for humor rather than a springboard for something sharper and more surprising. A preferable tack for this sort of generation-specific comedy might have been that of Ingrid Goes West, a film whose tropes are torqued to the point of genuine toxicity.
Yes, Someone Great is doing something different, more uplifting and benign, but it’s also covering well-trodden ground. Never once is the fate of its central friendship in doubt, nor is the prospect of enlightenment, which, when it comes, has all the boilerplate profundity of a refrigerator magnet. If you can, however, stay for the soundtrack, for the amiable presence of Gina Rodriguez, and for a few minutes of RuPaul, lounging on a leopard-print couch with an extravagantly large blunt in hand.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Someone Great review – another run-of-the-mill romcom from Netflix | Film