Alright Now (2018)

I really like Cobie Smulders, I like her energy, her presence on screen. So whenever I stumble upon one of her movies, I just can’t pass on them, especially if they are indies as Unexpected turned out to be such a nice little film. Alright Now is far from being charming. It is also far from being alright.

The story follows Joanne (Cobie Smulders), an American rock musician who was big in the 1990s. When her band falls apart and her boyfriend, Larry (Noel Clarke), breaks up with her, she gets drunk with her old friend Sara (Jessica Hynes), and drunkenly enrol in a Welsh university where she bonds with the shy admissions clerk, Pete (Richard Elis).

The problem with it is that Alright Now is almost, if not completely improvised. Unfortunately, instead of having a nice flow and feel more genuine, the thin story is incredibly tedious and unengaging and it lost my interest right away. It kind of redeems itself in the third acts, but it doesn’t matter anymore at that point as it’s just too late.

Another issue with the film is the character of Joanne. She is such a waste. A vain, eccentric star who is convinced the entire world revolves around her. She is such an awful human being —the way she treats Pete is unforgivable— it would make a serial killer feel good about him/herself. She doesn’t have any development up until the final act of the movie. Also, we don’t learn much about her career, nor the effects fame had on her. Other than going to her head, of course. As for Cobie Smulders, she is quite talented but in here she never reaches her full potential.

The relationships too are a mess. The romance with Pete, a shy, sweet guy who is trying to keep up with this wild and free (and unworthy) woman, never feels genuine and it’s hard to root for their relationship. The friendship between Joanne and Sara has so much potential as it feels like there’s more to their story; unfortunately, every single time the film seems to focus on that, it deviates from it and goes back to its uncompelling storyline.

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Alright Now is supposed to be a comedy but it didn’t get a laugh out of me. There are some situations that have the potential to be funny-ish —like pairing her with a young roommate— but ultimately they just fall flat. The improvisation never works, the interactions between Joanne and Sara being the only exceptions. The dialogue is dreadful but not as dreadful as the loud rock music that interrupts the film every five minutes or so and the awful facial expressions the actors have during those music moments. 

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