One Good Thing: a romantic comedy that celebrates the joy of easy watching
I watch no less than eight romantic comedies a month. The formula – a slightly weird cutie encounter, heady “go or don’t they want” moments and conflict that never lasts longer than 20 minutes – makes my brain fluid and I consume them like both. the background noise of the working day and a remedy for anxiety. The genre equivalent of The Comfy hoodie, the predictability of rom-coms is both creepy and heartwarming.
Someone great, the forgotten child of Netflix’s attempt in the late 2010s to revitalize romantic comedy, fits perfectly into the genre, despite working overtime to reverse the trope of botched romances. Namely, the love story takes place in reverse. When music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) gets the job of her dreams at the mythological San Francisco office of Rolling stone, her nine-year-old boyfriend, Nate (Lakeith Stanfield), dumps her, leaving Jenny to enlist her best friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) on a quest for closure and concert tickets. Jenny and Nate’s relationship unfolds in neon-tinted flashbacks of passionate sex and arguments about ambition, branching off the film into a boyfriend comedy and a searing exploration of what it feels like to get too big for your child. partner unwittingly.
This last plot is what makes Someone great the perfect pandemic watch late (or early, depending on who you ask). If I had to guess, we’ve all come out of the past 17 months a little more uncomfortable. Co-quarantine has killed relationships we thought would last forever, and the work-sleep-rehearsal routine takes us out of careers we thought we had forever. In other words, life probably still feels crappy and uncertain to most people, and it’s reassuring to see someone fictional accept this as imperfectly as the rest of us.
The day after her relationship ends, Jenny melodramatically plunges into celibacy, heavy drinking and self-medication with Molly (aka ecstasy) provided by RuPaul as she searches for tickets to a music festival. Jenny is endearing in her mood swings, Rodriguez being light and airy as she shies away from her feelings and stops them deep inside.
This mess is what makes Someone great so attractive. Nobody’s looking for the perfect guy or a second chance or one of those other unlikely romantic comedy requests. All Jenny wants is a few hours to fuck herself and forget about things, and that’s something even a romantic comedy skeptic can get.
Someone great is really a film about apprehension and how it manifests itself differently in each of us. For Jenny, that translates into great displays of emotion, crying in the corner of a bodega over Selena’s “Dreaming of You”. For Erin, it’s in procrastination and denial as she avoids committing to the owner of the shop she’s sleeping with, with the ultimate goal of delaying adulthood. As for Blair, she manages her anxieties through an unbalanced confrontation by cheating on her beloved boyfriend with a gangly type of creative director.
The conclusion of their coping mechanisms? Sudden change doesn’t require a sudden fix, even though it only takes 24 hours for the film’s protagonists to achieve that achievement. It’s a refreshing lesson, especially since we’re inundated with stories of hot, girl-on-girl summers and clubbing routes and introductions on how to beat your fear of going out. We don’t need to be okay with this awkward new pace of life just yet – and yes, I’m painfully aware of the irony of a movie that celebrates hedonism that teaches me that.
Someone great is best viewed casually, perhaps with a pile of laundry at your feet or while doing some other mundane household chore. As Implement and the rest of Netflix’s rom-com set, it’s compulsive to watch, with a plot that improves as you think about it. Jenny, Blair, and Erin’s chemistry is airy, and the movie is at its best when it relies on their friendship for cheap laughs. Case in point: Clothing editing – a staple of early romantic comedies – feels like a natural extension of a night out as the trio snap photos and swap outfits while rapping on Lil ‘Kim’s “The Jump Off.”
The film’s soundtrack is both a welcome plot and a kickstand, with the song selections feeling a bit too much on the nose at times, like when Jenny flips through nearly a decade of lyrics and photos while “Supercut” by Lorde is playing. Writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson started out as a music blogger for Pigeons and planes, and much of the film’s identity comes from the Spotify playlists containing over 500 songs, with most of the sheet music being put together during production. This symbiosis is best highlighted in Someone greatFinal flashback to, where Jenny and Nate have sex after a particularly inflammatory argument. Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl” plays in the background, as a sort of warning bell as Jenny realizes that the best parts of her relationship are over and their differences are not something you can discuss. .
Make no mistake: Someone great is not a moving cinema. It’s not even the best romantic comedy of recent years. But it’s a calming, easy movie to come back to when pandemic life seems a little too intimidating.
Someone great airs on Netflix.
For more recommendations from the world of culture, check out the A good thing archives.