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I Used To Go Here

****
2020

‘a welcome, warm and fuzzy film that offers a 86 minute hug for anyone who knows how public life can leave you exposed…’

It’s been something of a surprise to me that readers of this blog are not fond of the comedy genre. It’s true that there are fewer comedies made now than at any point in film history, we seem to prefer our laughs on twitter or three-minute viral videos. And yet there is still art in creating a story that makes us laugh, and so I Used To Go Here arrives bang on time to lighten up the darkening days.

Going back to your roots is a key theme in indie cinema, from Beautiful Girls to Garden State, and Kris Rey, directing from her own screenplay, manages to bring something new to the party here. Of course, there’s some big draws to help connect to an audience; Gillian Jacobs is probably best known as anarchist cat-lover Britta from the long-running comedy show Community, but she’s overdue a chance to spread her wings dramatically, and takes the opportunity here with a fine, nuanced performance that quickly erases her sitcom familiarity. And of course, Jermaine Clement’s role in Flight of the Conchords will help to flag up that this is an off-beat comedy that delivers both laughs and pathos.

Failure is a factor in everyday life, and newly published author Kate Conklin (Jacobs) knows it more than most; her wedding has been cancelled, even as the ink on the freshly printed invitations dries. Her friends seem to be getting pregnant faster than she can recover from a bad relationship, and so when her book tour is cancelled due to poor sales, she takes a chance on an invitation to visit her alma mater. Her former professor, David Kilpatrick (Clement) is keen for her to inculcate his students with her experiences, and Kate has a secret crush on him. But when the lecture is over, reality catches up fast; her landlady is aggressive, her digs are unwelcoming, and the only source of social contact is the band of students living in what used to be her house.

Denied a platform by the Covid decimation of South by Southwest, I Used To Go Here is a charming and assuredly lightweight film; there’s no great dramatic twist other that Kilpatrick is something of a ladies man with the students, and Kate’s hopes for re-kindling her relationship and her career flounder. So instead, we have a charming hang-out movie, as Kate is humbled to discover that she has more to learn from the students than they do from her. Andy Samberg is amongst the producers, and fans of the Lonely Island imprint will get their fill of tragi-comic adventures as Kate organises her gang to uncover the truth about their tutor.

This is a welcome, warm and fuzzy film that offers a 86 minute hug for anyone who knows how public life can leave you exposed. A skilfully developed running joke sees Kate confronted by the fact that no-one has actually cracked the spine on her book; the world is too busy for her pretentions. A strong example of a female-driven film that’s accessible to all, the bitter-sweet I Used To Go Here should be savoured as a tonic in today’s super-serious times.

In the UK, Signature Entertainment presents I Used To Go Here on Digital HD 14th September

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  1. I’m always up for a good comedy. I frikkin love Jermaine Clement — that guy can do no wrong to me. Have you seen People, Places, Things? Another super-low-key comedy with a tinge of melancholy in it. Think it came out circa late 2015, early 2016? Clement FTW

    • I am a fan of Clement, and will quickly add People, Places to my viewing list. He’s a name that draws me to any project, even if he’s not the star, a hangover from the days of Inner City Pressure!

  2. Comedy in 2020–an endangered species? I honed my funny bone on gross out funnies and Marx Bro, W. Allen, Chaplin, & W. C. Fields reruns; sharpened the heart on dark comedy–Mash, War of the Roses… As a writer, I’ve learned too much slapstick gives you cardboard characters, too little results in drama best saved for mama. I can’t find 21st c comedies that provide satisfying emotional mood swings like Dead Poets, GHog’s Day, Prizi’s Honor… so I rewatch M. Python, Blazing Saddles, Y Frankenstein, Arthur, Mrs. Doubtfire, Stripes, 9 to 5, Cat Ballou, La Cage Aux F…original French version… I keep hoping to find witty banter, subtle mocking (Roxanne, Men in Black) but avoid the Seinfeld, Lewis, Carey, urban angst and stupid pratfall films… I think it was Twain that said humans are the only creatures that blush & laugh, or need to…but tell that to my smiling Staffie bull terrier… Hmm, ‘a tragic-comic’ caper sounds appealing; just hope she doesn’t keep a Bridget Jones diary… Thanks!

    • I think it is endangered, and will never tire of Monty Python, or Bill Murray, or Robin Williams, or MASH…this isn’t as twee as Bridget Jones, and I liked the caustic view of local educational standards, or lack of them. Been watching Marx Brothers recently, and that’s not dated at all. We have to laugh at life, sometimes, and it’ll be a shame if we lose the thread of telling a story that makes us smile. Your comment makes me want to watch Prizzi’s Honor again, and 9 to 5, and Stripes…but this one will do for now!

      • Your review made me want to rewatch oldie goodies as well–a Fish Called Wanda, My Dinner with Andre, One Flew Over…, even PeeWee’s Great Adventure, especially the line “I’m a loner Dotty.” I trust the cycle of high comedy will return–what are we without the abiity to snort , guffaw, and chortle? Thanks again for your review of Interpretation of Death, Chapter 1–means a GREAT deal to me. I’d enjoy reading your other works as well, cheers Jo

        • Not at all, it was a pleasure. Would encourage you to keep going, you’ve got a great start! Like all the films you mention, it’ll be a shame if all comedies are old comedies, because they don’t make them anymore!

  3. So the “kids” are more adult than the pretentious author? Say it ain’t so!

    I actually find that pretty sad that a full on adult has “more to learn from the students than they from her”. I don’t take from that that the kids are just that great, but that the author is just that bad (as a person).

    Sorry to be yet another rain cloud on your blog. You definitely have NOT attracted the light and fluffy crowd into your comment area 😉

    • I’m gonna turn these frowns upside down! This film is about a pretentious author who gets taken down a peg or too my life, but finds a sense of community with the young people who live in her old house. But there’s a positive sense of catharsis as she recaptures a little of her energy, and I guess we assume that this bring, upbeat story is he second attempt at being creative.

      At least my comments area isn’t full of boasts about rodent killing! It’s light and fluffy in comparison…

            • Who brought up killing rodents? I’m writing about transformative experiences for writers, and you’re glorifying chipmunk murders! I take no responsibility at all…

              • but only a true comedic genius could find the ironic humor in both types of comments.

                *desperately tries to think of a line that will clinch the argument*

                Ummm, so there!

                • I think we’ll call this one a tie. No-one could say that today’s blog needed a comment about ‘the ancient Rat Catchers guild of Ankh-Morpork….’ but I guess I’ll allow it under free speech…

  4. Lol..this is becoming a running joke between Fraggle and you isn’t it😂😂 Well…I could give the same answer: nope…but still the review has made me curious, and I do like feel good kind/warm/fuzzy kind of films, so who knows I might even give it a go. Not in a real rush for it though, but let’s just say you got me curious at least 😊😊

    • I’ve been scouring her site for posts I can write ‘nope’ on, but it doesn’t carry the same impact on a photo of a garlic press.

      This is a slight but very likeable film, if the mood takes you, it’s good fun!

      • Hahaha…I was reading this while at work, and I nearly choked in my tea😂😂 Too funny!😂😂 Well you could try it, and see what the response will be😊
        Well…If I do watch it at some point, I will definitely let you know😃

  5. I’m just a misanthrope. Given a choice between watching attractive young people enjoying themselves in a comedy or being torn to pieces in a gruesome manner . . .

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