Adam Devine Attempts to Escape the Friend Zone in Netflix’s Amusing ‘When We First Met’

You can’t mess with fate. That’s the message of “When We First Met,” a romantic comedy starring Adam Devine. In this Netflix original film, which Devine also co-wrote, he finds himself in broader territory as Noah, a nice guy who has been in love with the sweet and beautiful Avery (Alexandra Daddario) for the past three years. The story begins with Avery’s engagement party, but to Noah’s everlasting regret, her betrothed is not him but Ethan (Robbie Amell), an almost too-perfect hunk of man, the kind of guy who has ginger ale and saltines ready after Noah’s despair leads him to drink himself sick.

A flashback to three years earlier, Halloween 2014, reveals that Noah first met Avery at a party and felt a connection right off the bat. She seems equally pleased with his company, but when he goes in for a kiss at the end of the evening, she curves him with a hug, saying that she’s so grateful to have found such a good guy friend. To add salt to his wound, Avery meets Ethan the very next day while out replacing some cereal that Noah finished off at her place.

Back in the present day, Noah still hasn’t accepted his place in the friendzone, but unfortunately for him, he can’t go back in time. Or can he? Following the engagement party, Noah discovers that the photo booth in which he and Avery posed together on that first night is actually a time machine. Convinced that he could have done something differently on that fateful night, he keeps traveling back, but each time he overshoots – When he tries to use what he already knows about Avery to woo her, he comes off as a stalker. When he takes some misguided advice from his pick-up artist best friend, Max (Andrew Bachelor), he ends up going “full asshole.” And when he gets corporate job to become the man he thinks Avery wants, he transforms into a stressed-out workaholic. This final scenario leads to a much need lightbulb going off in his head, one that finally leads to a happy ending for all, even if it isn’t the one Noah desired in the beginning.

Avery is a one-note character — not a lot of information is given about her everyday life, and she pretty much serves as a standard dream girl. Her roommate Carrie (Shelley Hennig), however, is witty, has a satisfying job as a photographer, challenges Noah, and one can see where this is going early on.

There are some funny moments in “When We First Met,” mostly involving Noah’s failed attempts at wooing — particularly one memorable scene in which the ladies kick Noah’s ass after mistaking him for a crazed stalker. The best way to describe the film would be as a Hallmark type movie with some raunch thrown in — overall it’s pretty forgettable.

With Netflix now committed to releasing 80 original films a year, it would be a lot to expect them all to be winners. For every “Mudbound” Netflix subscribers can anticipate a handful a films like this, the kind that are best for falling asleep to after a night of drinking and fast food.

When We First Met” premieres Feb. 9 on Netflix.