Is there a person that one is supposed to meet? Most of us have, at some time, been besotted with or liked the wrong person. That is life. Still, there is a train of thought that says we are destined to meet certain people and certain people are destined to be together.
Destiny, the right people getting together, and accepting hard love truths is the premise of Netflix’s When We First Met, a delightfully romantic, time travel, comedy.
Noah (Adam Devine) is at his good friend Avery’s (Alexandra Daddario) and he is miserable. She is making her speech, recalling three years before when she met Ethan (Robbie Amell). As she tells her story, Noah recalls his own meeting with her. It was also three years before, one day before she met Ethan.
Noah drinks too much at the party and ends up needing to be taken home. Carrie (Shelly Hennig), Avery’s best friend, offers to drive him home. Noah has her take him to the jazz bar he works at instead, where his best friend, Max (Andrew Bachelor) is waiting.
Carrie leaves Noah with Max. Max puts Noah in a photo booth while he goes to the bathroom. Noah decides to take some photos. He wakes up three years before, on the day he met Avery. Noah is the only person who knows he has time travelled. He decides to change the outcome but meets Carrie first and she puts a spanner in the works.
When he wakes up again, everything has changed and the women attack him when he goes over to see Avery. He returns to his apartment and realises that the photo booth is what transported him back. He returns to the booth and is sent back again.
He enlists the help of Max to try and meet Avery this time around. It seems like everything goes to plan when he wakes up with her in the bed next to him. It turns out that after they got together, they were just a booty call to each other. He is also a total slacker.
He tells Carrie he wants to be with Avery and loves her. Carrie tells him that Avery wants the perfect life. Noah goes back to the booth and resets again. This time it seems like he gets exactly what he wants. He is a high-powered executive at the firm where Max works, much to Max’s disgust.
Ethan turns up at Avery and Noah’s engagement party and is crushed that he missed out on getting together with Avery. He tells Noah that Avery told him that she wishes things had been different. Noah realises that Avery does not love him. He talks to Carrie again and goes back in time to meet Ethan and introduce him to Avery.
He has the best night with Carrie and realises that he should be with her. He wakes up and though Avery and Ethan are together, Carrie got back together with her ex. Noah is crushed and goes to reset, but the photo booth is gone replaced by a new booth.
He gets drunk in the new photo booth and Avery and Ethan come looking for him. Avery tells him she bought him the photo booth. He goes home and jumps back again, this time not trying to change anything. When he returns to the present again everything is how it was. He does not get drunk and strikes up a conversation with Carrie. They get together. The end.
When We First Met is an enjoyable and funny rom-com. Adam Devine, best known for his role as Bumper in Pitch Perfect, is brilliant as the lovelorn Noah. He is so likeable that even as he bumbles along, you root for him to win.
The casting is so good in the film. When Daddario’s Avery puts Noah in the friend zone, it’s awkward but not unexpected. Amell’s model handsome, chiselled, Ethan is the sort of man who gives other men a complex. The Ethan and Avery couple is so perfect, nobody would want to hang out with them! They are just too nice.
Shelly Hennig as Carrie is great, her expressive eyes doing all the work, the script an able assistant. Speaking of the script, by John Whittington, it is sparkling. There are comedic gems in this script that are laugh out loud funny. A quick peruse of his IMDB profile shows that he is a bit of a comedy genius, having scripted not one, but two of the lego movies.
Direction by Ari Sandel is brisk and keeps the pace up in a film that, by its very nature, is repetitive. The time travel trope is a well used and popular device in films. It could easily have failed miserably in this film, but Whittington’s script, the great directing and performances make When We First Met a real joy to watch. An easy one hundred minutes to waste. Delightful.