Literally, Right Before Aaron (NR)

Comedy 101 min. September 29, 2017
By Abbey Bender
Literally, Right Before Aaron features one of the most uncomfortable flirting scenes in recent cinematic memory. In a flashback, Adam (Justin Long) approaches Allison (Cobie Smulders) in the college library. Allison is reading and understandably doesn't want to be disturbed, but Adam has other ideas. "A book's not going to have sex with you, and I want to, very badly," he says. Improbably, this line works, but the bulk of the film revolves around the time after the ensuing relationship: Allison is now getting married to Aaron (Ryan Hansen) — the jock counterpoint to Adam's nerd — and Adam, an avatar of smarmy male entitlement, isn't taking it well. Early on, he impulsively proposes to his current girlfriend only to say they should break up minutes later, and he spends much of the runtime stewing over Allison's impending nuptials and then trying to ruin the wedding.

It's hard to get what Allison once saw in this guy — Smulders plays her with a sharp, bemused quality that stands in contrast to Adam's whining. There have been so many indies featuring man children that Literally, Right Before Aaron likely is meant as commentary on this trope. Adam is full of himself, and the film doesn't necessarily support this, but it doesn't say anything interesting about his emotionally stunted egotism either. Brief appearances from Lea Thompson, as Adam's long-suffering mother, and Peter Gallagher, as an amusingly pompous nature documentarian, are a welcome respite. The film ends with a riff on the final moments of The Graduate, a frustrating suggestion of a much better work.
Ryan Eggold Cobie Smulders, Charlotte McKinney, Dana Delany, Briga Heelan, Kristen Schaal Ryan Eggold Screen Media Films

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