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He's the worst: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the flawed romantic hero trope to its extreme

He's the worst: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the flawed romantic hero trope to its extreme
Cobie Smulders and Justin Long in the film "Literally, Right Before Aaron." ((Michael Moriatis / Screen Media Films))

If you're a straight woman, you've probably encountered a guy like our supposed hero Adam in "Literally, Right Before Aaron." Played by Justin Long, he's the type of guy who imagines himself a romantic from his first overly sexual come-on to when his appearance at your wedding threatens your marriage — to someone else. It's clear that Adam is the actual worst, but it's not clear if "Literally, Right Before Aaron" is aware of exactly how bad he is.

The movie's drama-comedy-tonal mess begins with Adam's ex-girlfriend Allison (Cobie Smulders) inviting him to her wedding to Aaron (Ryan Hansen). Still heartbroken, he agrees, hoping it will bring closure to the relationship that ended more than a year ago. Peak awkwardness ensues as everyone at the wedding festivities knows that Adam was Allison's last relationship before her current one, and Adam does little to help his situation.

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Written and directed by actor Ryan Eggold, making his debut behind the camera, the movie alternates between warm nostalgia and ugly bitterness. Eggold has assembled a great cast beyond his normally hilarious leads, including John Cho, Luis Guzmán, Kristen Schaal, Dana Delany and Peter Gallagher. But there are few laughs from this talented cast. The audience will likely spend most of the film squirming and grimacing in recognition at Adam's awfulness — especially when the film rewards him with an ending that is far kinder than the character deserves.

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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