“When We First Met” came out on Friday as yet another Netflix original romcom. On paper, the movie looked very promising. Noah (Adam Devine) had a perfect first date with the girl of his dreams, Avery (Alexandra Daddario), three years ago, but had somehow managed to get himself completely friendzoned. The next day, she had met the love of her life Ethan (Robbie Amell), and Noah never got a second chance at winning her over. In the present day, Noah gets drunk at Avery and Ethan’s engagement party and has Avery’s best friend Carrie (Shelley Hennig) drive him to the bar he and Avery had gone to all of those years ago. He sits in an old photo booth, reminiscent of Zoltar in “Big,” and manages to time travel back to that first night. He restarts the night over and over again, attempting to finally get her to love him back, but in the process, realizes that maybe he shouldn’t be stuck in the past anymore and begins to look at how he can change the future.
Sounds cute, right? Basic, a bit like “Groundhog’s Day,” maybe not as well thought-out, but still cute. Wrong. Devine somehow manages to take his own plot and ruin it by making his character so incredibly unlikable.
Devine’s character’s first attempt at fixing the past had him using all of his memories from that day and knowledge of the future to force the night to end in a more romantic way. He took all of Avery’s lines from that night and dragged her along in a very presumptuous, obnoxious manner. He acted like a pompous jerk and ruined anything that seemed genuine and sweet about the day they met. By the end of the attempt, viewers watched without sympathy as he was beaten to a pulp for appearing to be a stalker.
The version of him that goes “full asshole,” complete with frosted tips and leather pants, who Avery turns to periodically for sex, isn’t a far stretch from his real personality. If anything, it’s just an outside to match his inside.
Another attempt has him usurping his best friend Max (Andrew Bachelor)’s dream job, and trapping Avery into a loveless relationship. Again, it doesn’t seem too far of a stretch.
The truth is that the way he carries himself and talks is just annoying, and the fact that whatever decision he makes on the time travel trips isn’t something that seems so impossible or out of his hands. Whatever persona he takes on is still powered by the same guy. So the same guy that was miserable because Avery was engaged to someone else, still has the same traits as the guy in the leather pants or the guy with the mansion.
In the end, he finally stops being manipulative and awful and gives up on Avery so she can be with the man she actually loves. He finds love elsewhere, but no one really wants him to. He kind of doesn’t seem to deserve it.
Maybe that’s terrible to say, but as the movie went on, he just got so much more unlikeable to the point that it wouldn’t have been such a bad ending if he had ended up alone and miserable all over again.
Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.