Someone Great on Netflix review: Gal-pal romance movie fails to live up to its name
Someone Great is definitely not greater than the sum of its parts. The Netflix gal-pal romance movie features a solid cast and a classic plot, with a hamfisted 21st-century ‘girl power’ update. However, where the film tries desperately to woo over the very women it claims to represent is precisely where it falls short.
Its flat characters and half-baked relationships aren’t as bad as the millennial pandering etched into every single word.
The actors give it their all, pushing the edge of obnoxiousness in a way which is sometimes refreshing but often, like everything in this film, contrived.
The story follows Jenny (played by Gina Rodriguez) an aspiring music journalist who lands her dream job at Rolling Stone but must move from New York City to San Francisco.
Rather than do long distance, her boyfriend of nine years (Lakeith Stanfield) decides to call it quits.
The plot synopsis continues: “To nurse her broken heart, Jenny gathers up her two best friends, Erin and Blair (Brittany Snow and DeWanda Wise) for one outrageous last adventure in New York City.”
Jenny’s work ethic surely should be the crux of the film – after all, its the catalyst for the story, her move, and the cause of some of the tension between her and her partner.
Instead, it is only alluded to in flashback fights with her boyfriend and is a cursory point amidst drama for drama’s sake.
And outrageousness is not so much a theme, or even a catharsis, as a series of increasingly bad decisions linked together by sheer momentum.
Someone Great is an Instagram filtered movie, promoting an aesthetically manicured lifestyle many millennials think they should have (and if they haven’t achieved, they’re somehow failing).
The film is blissfully ignorant of itself, especially when strangers (and a fantastic cameo from Rosario Dawson) comment on Jenny’s ‘horrible’ outfit, in which she looks stellar.
In fact, the movie is so full of unbelievably attractive people whose dishevelment is so perfectly assembled it’s hard not to feel the same kind self-esteem issues that scrolling through a famous person’s Instagram inspires.
Even in the harsh light of day after copious bottles of straight gin and tequila, MDMA, and zero food or water, everyone is almost as put together and eloquent as they were at the start of the movie.
Someone Great lacks all the self-aware irony it needs to be a satirical commentary, but neither does it have the lightheartedness of a rom-com or a feel-good friendship film.
The movie is slightly redeemed by the exemplary use of Selena’s Dreaming of You, the only moment in which the nod to millennial culture, and how fully a broken heart overwhelms you, feels genuine.
Almost everything else about Someone Great feels purpose-built to elicit a sense of camaraderie with its characters.
Yet Someone Great’s ending is easy to spot a mile away, and its lack of character development means there’s no camaraderie to be had.
Despite Gina Rodriguez’s best efforts to bring Jenny from broken-hearted to on the mend, the character’s eventual self-affirmation offers the audience nothing more than the fleeting joy of a quick double tap on an Instagram post you covet.
Someone Great is available to stream on Netflix from Friday, April 19, 2019.
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