Indie Week: The First Time

The First Time follows two teens, Dave (Dylan O’Brien) and Aubrey (Britt Robertson), over one tumultuous weekend where they discover their love for each other after a chance meeting at a party.

Dave, the traditional handsome, smart teen with a heart of gold finds himself drawn to the blunt, artistic Aubrey who has a deep-rooted hatred for cliché. But Dave is stuck on his gorgeous best friend, Jane (Victoria Justice) and Aubrey has a cringe-inducing older boyfriend, Ronny (James Frenchville). Will they fall for each other, or simply fall apart?

I am a huge fan of both the leads, O’Brien and Robertson, but this film is an hour and a half of cliché and cheese. There’s nothing unexpected. There is nothing new or interesting that every teen romantic comedy has done. The worst part about it is that the writing suggests they think they are incredibly original. Aubrey hates clichés (which is laughably ironic) and is written like every other “cool” girl that does art and is tough but secretly sensitive and blah blah blah. And of course Dave is incredibly hot, but he’s going to Columbia and just can’t get the girl. They just lean into their stereotypes a little too hard and they end up just being the most stock roles. They waste Victoria Justice, and she is so relegated to the background she is barely a character, just a plot point to hinder the main relationship setup. It’s pretty sad.

If you really like teen romance flicks, this one is passable. Robertson’s character gets really grating, but even with the cliché machine rolling, O’Brien’s character is still pretty charming. Dylan O’Brien is just a really likable onscreen presence, so even when he gets the bare minimum to do he’s still fun to watch. Robertson is always hit or miss for me. She’s a good actress, but she can be so annoying sometimes and unfortunately this is an example of that. This film is trying to be different than every other must-lose-virginity teen movie, but it fails miserably. I have never rolled my eyes more in a movie, but if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy, then this isn’t the worst example.

Amy’s Recommendation: 6/10

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