Ah, the awkward nostalgia trip “hang out” movie. We’ve gotten a lot of those the past decade haven’t we? There aren’t that many that have not been done before: lost loves, old party houses, old school mates, drugs, diners, drive-ins, and dives (yes, pun intended on that last one). I USED TO GO HERE is not an exception to the rule. So when you aren’t an exception, you gotta make the movie at least entertaining when you are surrounded by predictable elements, and in that, it succeeded for me. But it might not be very memorable down the line. Produced by The Lonely Island guys, I Used To Go Here stars Community’s Gillian Jacobs and per IMDB, “Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate is invited to speak at her alma mater by her former professor. After accepting the invitation, Kate finds herself deeply enmeshed in the lives of a group of college students.” The movie does go down the familiar path of where the protagonists work is not that successful and most of the jokes surround her taking the criticism in a different dumber of ways, but thankfully Gillian Jacobs innate ability to turn those predictable narrative threads and react to them in her own unique way make them a little bit fresher than normal, is what is part of this film’s small charm. Jacobs thankfully isn’t just playing Britta from Community here, and more of an “aw shucks I just take everything in stride and am just along for the ride” type character.
The movie really succeeds starting in the last half hour, where she goes spying on one of her old professors, played by an almost unrecognizable and more clean cut Jermaine Clement, with some college kids she just met that are staying at her old college house. This film works on entertainment value alone, but don’t expect anything too deep in terms of allegory or theme. It’s just a simple hang out movie, where the story takes place over a night or two, one where the characters share a little heartache, a little remembrance, some passion and laughter, they learn a couple of lessons, but their experience might be hazy or not remembered at all in several years down the line in their lives. Which is exactly how I’ll be with this movie in time. If it ever comes up in conversation or I ever happen to remember it again, I’ll remember it for Gillian Jacob’s aw shucks cute as a button performance, yet not much else. I am not familiar with writer/director Kris Rey’s work, but she is definitely an actor’s director, getting realistic performances form all. I just wish there was a little something more from the movie. It felt just like a much more likable Holden Caulfield type hanging around his old school for a couple of days and maybe learning a lesson or two. But this worked for a one time watch, but in about a decade I’ll probably be saying, “oh yeah, I used to remember that movie, from what I can recollected, it was fine.”