FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “I Used to Go Here” stars Gillian Jacobs (Community [TV series], Walk of Shame), Jemaine Clement (Gentlemen Broncos, What We Do in the Shadows ), John Wiggins (Max, Mean Dreams), Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant, The Miseducation of Cameron Post), Hannah Marks (Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency [TV series], Banana Split), Kate Micucci (When in Rome, Steven Universe [TV series]), Zoe Chao (Love Life [TV series], Downhill), Jorma Taccone (Hot Rod, The Lego Movie), Jennifer Joan Taylor (Derailed, The Weather Man), Khloe Janel (Chicago Fire [TV series], Easy [TV series]), Brandon Daley (Bite Radius [Short], Terrible Accident at the Bread Factory [Short]), Rammel Chan (The Red Line [TV series], Patriot [TV series]), Cindy Gold (The Drunk, Kappa Force [TV series]), and Kristina Valada-Viars (Molly’s Girl, The Door in the Floor). It is written and directed by Kris Rey (Unexpected, Empire Builder).
A struggling author returns to her former college to speak on her recent publication, only to stick around longer than she anticipated.
Have you ever perused through a library of films and picked one you knew absolutely nothing about (or heard of, for that matter)? Such was the case with Kris Rey’s “I Used to Go Here,” a movie I was drawn to by the fact that Jemaine Clement was on the poster and the Lonely Island was included in the producing credits. With those names, you’d expect a comedy romp of great proportions, but this was unfortunately not one of those occasions.
Rooting itself in the theme of someone finding what they had lost in the past, this flick about an author getting to speak at her former college lent itself to cliché student shenanigans, basic character types, and a story that wasn’t all too interesting. Most of the adventure is quite reserved, with only a few bold moments that gave way to rather odd scenarios (and not in a good way). From the outset, it simply looks messy, with hardly any indication as to what this story wants to be.
Sure, you’d expect a more open plot for a day-in-the-life tale. But for our lead character Kate (Jacobs), she faces a dilemma that doesn’t really amount to much. I understand what Rey is trying to get at. I mean, I listed the theme earlier. However, it’s such a hands-off lesson that most of the experience is spent watching an alumni befriend some college kids, get into some crazy situations, and all-the-while dealing with real world stuff. What’s the real world stuff? An ex that won’t talk to her anymore and a writing career on the line. This may seem enticing, but the execution of it all was bland. The performances were fine, but the characters lacked engaging qualities. There were a few moments and certain character types I enjoyed (Elliot [Chan] was fairly funny), though that’s just it: a few.
To me, the stakes weren’t high or intense enough. Kate is trying to figure her life out, but the narrative is stuffed with such odd scenes and nonsensical humor that I really didn’t care about the more serious matters. And the comedy presented also wasn’t that grand. Throughout the viewing experience, I thought to myself multiple times “I guess that was a well-written joke,” or “I’m supposed to laugh here.” They just didn’t land for me, with only a handful of occasions where I genuinely laughed. Ultimately, it’s disappointing, considering how much potential the film had with the talent behind it (I wonder how much involvement the Lonely Island actually had). If you ever find yourself coming across “I Used to Go Here,” I’d consider a different feature to watch. FINAL SCORE: 58%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: