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film review

Gillian Jacobs and Jemaine Clement star in I Used to Go Here.Gravitas Ventures

  • I Used to Go Here
  • Written and directed by Kris Rey
  • Starring Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement and Zoe Chao
  • Classification 14A; 80 minutes

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars


Kris Rey’s I Used to Go Here arrives with so much promise. First, there is the cast, featuring a stable of familiar-but-not-breakout comic actors that you would be happy to spend a few hours with: Gillian Jacobs (Community, Netflix’s Love), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Zoe Chao (HBO Max’s Love Life). There’s the fact the film was produced by the Lonely Island trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, who are responsible for this summer’s direct-to-streaming hit Palm Springs (at least, I assume it’s a hit; that movie still isn’t available in Canada). And then there’s Rey herself, who was so instrumental in shaping American indie cinema’s mumblecore movement.

Which makes the quick disappointment of I Used to Go Here all the more crushing. Focusing on a novelist (Jacobs) who extends a book tour to her alma mater into a too-long chance to revisit past triumphs and failures, the comedy feels thin on every level. The characters aren’t compelling, the comedy isn’t energetic, and the narrative surprises that Rey throws at the screen will be obvious to anyone who has ever heard the word “Sundance.” (To head off any eventual criticism: I realize that this movie was not a Sundance Film Festival selection, but rather one slated for the scuttled 2020 SXSW festival. However, the huh-yeah-saw-that-coming sensibility is one and the same.)

Jacobs deserves better, Clement deserves better and The Lonely Island should know better.

I Used to Go Here is available digitally on-demand starting Aug. 7

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