REVIEW: ‘I Used to Go Here’ Tries to Shake the Arrested Development Formula

While most of the Community cast has moved to bigger and better things, one of the show’s mainstays hasn’t exploded the same way as, say, Donald Glover or Alison Brie. Gillian Jacobs, who superbly portrayed the vulnerable, perpetually befuddled Britta for six seasons, has had limited success in supporting roles in lesser movies (remember Walk of Shame? Because I’m trying to forget).

Jacobs is the brightest spot of the affable I Used to Go Here, an arrested development comedy without the sharp elbows of Young Adult, but still anchored in reality: The sorry state of the publishing industry drives a chunk of the plot

Kate (Jacobs) is a published author at a low ebb: Both her book tour and her wedding have been cancelled. Desperate for a lifeline, she agrees to go back to her alma mater to give a talk to aspiring writers. The appeal is understandable: It was a good time in Kate’s life and now she’s coming back as a success story.

Her glorious return doesn’t unfold as planned: The teacher who invited her (Jemaine Clement, What We Do in the Shadows) is a creep who preys on his students and the young minds Kate is supposed to impress don’t show much interest. Even worse, it doesn’t seem like she has matured all that much since her days in college. But she does feel older.

I Used to Go Here doesn’t feel particularly fresh, but it’s most certainly amiable. The film is at its best when less focused on the main character’s perfunctory growth. Midway through, there’s a heist sequence that had me in stitches, but the film seldom reaches the same level of hilarity before or after.

I don’t take jabs at critics (depicted here as “the worst kind of humans”) personally, but trying to pass a piece of overwritten text as an example of “good literature” is gaslighting at its most obvious.  Writer/director Kris Rey shows some promise, but needs to drop her crutches in order to stand out. 2.5 prairie dogs (out of five).

I Used to Go Here is now available on VOD.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.