In the sea of horror movies coming out this month, The Other Zoey presents an option for the romantic comedy crowd. Fans of the After franchise can see Josephine Langford tackle comedy in the new film from director Sara Zandieh.

The Other Zoey follows Zoey (Langford), a college student who doesn't believe in romantic love, as she is put in a pickle after her school's star soccer player Zach (Drew Starkey) thinks she's his girlfriend in a state of amnesia. While Zoey isn't initially going to go along with it, after learning his cousin Miles (Archie Renaux) is the guy who caught her eye at an on-campus lecture, she decides to continue being Zach's girlfriend to get close to Miles.

Though the film doesn't utilize the usual rom-com tropes to the fullest extent, the chemistry between the actors is a highlight. In addition to the main cast, it's also nice to see Andie MacDowell, Heather Graham, and Patrick Fabian in small roles here.

Common Rom-Com Clichés Lack Depth

The Other Zoey with Josephine LangfordBrainstorm Media

The Other Zoey is a pretty boilerplate romantic comedy. A young woman is convinced she will never fall in love, that her life partner can only come to her through an algorithm (as they say repeatedly and too often), and seems to use her parents' divorce as an excuse. This isn't anything new to rom-com viewers.

What's disappointing is that the film doesn't take these themes in different directions than its hundreds of predecessors. Zoey's insistence that she can't fall in love is one-note. Her sudden interest in someone just because they share her views on love in a span of five minutes is as laughable as it is jarring, and it doesn't add anything to the conversation or convince her that she's wrong in her views. The plot then takes us right back to her cynical views on relationships, creating a feeling of whiplash and confusion.

Audiences can watch as other common tropes like 'he isn't actually a dumb jock' are used to various degrees of success. They add substance to the plot but rarely more than creating a moment for Zoey to realize her thoughts on life and love may not be the best way forward. Even then, it feels one-dimensional, since Zoey's reflections lack the depth needed to force her to question herself and her views on relationships without the intervention of others, like her best friend Elle (Mallori Johnson) and her mother.

Missed Story Opportunities

The Other Zoey with Josephine Langford in a hot tubBrainstorm Media

One of the unconventional additions to the plot is the revelation that one of the male leads is in a poly relationship. This isn't a dynamic typically included in romantic comedies, and it was great to see different types of relationships featured. However, it was used in a blink-and-you-miss-it fashion, coming up quickly and then never being mentioned again. Expanding on it more and leaning into its place in the narrative could've helped The Other Zoey stand out in a market of similar films.

Part of Zoey's character is that she believes in relationships based on compatibility, not love, and she is developing an app to help calculate that. However, it's never mentioned in Zoey's attempts to get to know Miles, whom she thinks she is compatible with, that she wants to use him as a test for her app. She thinks they are compatible because of their views on romantic love, but why doesn't she test it?