Crazy Rich Asians might have saved the rom-com at the box office last year, but Netflix gave the genre lots of sunshine, TLC, nourishment and watched it grow back to life. The behemoth’s latest entry? The raunchy Someone Great, starring Gina Rodriguez and Lakeith Stanfield. It’s not quite as charming or winning as recent originals To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before or Set It Up. But unlike those flicks, this one has a more meaningful message: Find yourself, then find the guy.
Rodriguez stars as a journalist living it up in New York City. She’s been together with her boyfriend (Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You) for nine lovely years. They’ve been supportive and devoted to each other as they rise through their respective career ranks. But they start to grow apart. And right after she lands a coveted reporting job for Rolling Stone— which requires a move to San Francisco — he breaks up with her. This journey is all chronicled in a touching and relatable opening sequence. (Really, what’s more deflating than seeing a text-message bubble go poof?)
Instead of staying in and bingeing movies on her couch, Jenny wants to mark the end of the era with her best friends. Enter Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise), who have their own share of relationship woes. Their plan: Have one last krazy hurrah in NYC and make a cameo at a rock concert. After all, good times is the best revenge.
So, yeah, we’re not dealing with a particularly Great outline. A movie that relies heavily on girls-gone-wild premise is just too broad to have hilarious dividends. As the friends smoke pot, score Molly, get high and hit the party circuit, the adventures become increasingly predictable and boring. Just because Millennial girls wanna have raunchy fun instead of, say, Seth Rogen and his bros doesn’t make the hijinks fresh or inspired. It just comes off desperate, as if you have to be there to enjoy it. There needs to be wit and a well-rounded story to keep this kind of film going for more than 90 minutes. That’s the difference between a stellar Bridesmaids and Girls Trip and meh copycats like Rough Night and Ibiza.
But Someone Great, written and directed by Sweet/Vicious creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and executive-produced by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, still has a lot going for it. The flick actually works best during its melancholic moments. Jenny’s heartbreak is palpable — and even though she wants desperately to move forward, she can’t stop mentally rewinding her fights with her ex. The flashback scenes are painful but necessary. He isn’t a bad guy; he’s just not right for her.
Rodriguez is excellent in the lead role, showing off her comedy and dramatic chops. Her transition from more frivolous CW fare to meatier big-screen material seems very promising. (Let’s officially repress that Miss Bala remake from a few months back.) While Snow and Wise do have considerable screen time, they’re not playing especially memorable characters. At least the trio’s friendship is authentic, poignant and chemistry-rich. And not to be a party buzzkill, but isn’t that what matters?
Someone Great is available to stream on Netflix starting Friday, April 19