The Other Zoey is out now, and while we are huge fans of all things Rom-Com, we’re sad to say that this film was a Rom-Com that was just okay. That isn’t to say we didn’t enjoy the movie. Don’t get us wrong because there were moments we liked. It’s just that it wasn’t what we thought it would be. We know what writer Matthew Tabak and Director Sara Zandieh were trying to do with this story, but the execution of it was a bit shaky.
In The Other Zoey, Josephine Langford stars as Zoey Miller, an intelligent computer nerd who doesn’t believe in Romantic love. To Zoey, Romantic love is a “product of capitalism,” which is interesting because she’s designed a dating app for which she’s trying to get funding. Mind you, Zoey refers to the app as one to test compatibility, but let’s face it: it is a dating app. Because trying to see who you’re compatible with is literally how dating apps work. Zoey seems content enough, but her life changes quickly after a run-in with the school’s soccer star, Zach MacLaren (Drew Starkey).
After a freak accident, Zach develops amnesia and mistakes Zoey for his girlfriend, Zoey Wallace. Zoey plans to come clean to Zach’s parents, Connie (Andie MacDowell) and Matt (Patrick Fabian), but her best friend Elle (Mallori Johnson) tells her she shouldn’t. One of the main reasons is that the doctors recommend that he have as little stimuli as possible, or it could make his injury worse. Zoey already feels bad enough about being the cause of the accident, so she decides to stay quiet. She wrestles with the decision and considers just telling the truth. That is until Zach’s cousin Miles (Archie Renaux) shows up. This is where the film gets tricky in more ways than one.
The Love Triangle Doesn’t Triangle
When we initially saw the trailer for The Other Zoey, we saw Zoey torn between these two guys, Zach and Miles, so we said sign us up! We were even hashtagging (okay, maybe that was just me) our own favorites before the film was released. As mentioned above, Zoey is about to come clean to Zach’s parents until she sees Miles. You see, Miles is a guy she saw at a seminar, and she was surprised to see that he had the same views on love that she did. Realizing they have quite a few things in common, she keeps up the façade of being the other Zoey. Is it messy that she chose to do this just so that she could get closer to Miles? Of course, it is. But that’s what love triangles are all about.
In this case, not so much. When Zoey goes away with Zach, his parents, and Miles for a ski trip, she starts to bond with him and, in some ways, Zach. Zoey is really enjoying the time she spends with Miles, and he seems to be enjoying it, too, but things go completely south when she finds out that he has a girlfriend and they’re polyamorous. Zoey is stunned by this revelation, and frankly, so were we. It only worsens when Miles tells her he was only looking for a hookup.
We’re honestly not sure why Tabak chose this particular route with Miles, but we hated it. The Other Zoey was promoted as a love triangle, yet we got none of that. The “love triangle” is killed so abruptly, and having Miles’s character be this way felt out of place. We’re not going to lie; we had some thoughts about Miles and whether or not he was too good to be true because he and Zoey really did have a lot in common. But we never saw this coming. Our hope was for Miles to be who he said he was. We wanted Zoey to have that conflict of “who do I want to be with? Miles or Zach?” but learning what type of guy Miles was removed that thought from us real quick.
The Other Zoey is, well… she’s a brat.
Were we supposed to like the other, other Zoey? Because we didn’t. Zoey Wallace (Maggie Thurmon) spent the entire movie being whiny to her parents on their lavish trip to the Bahamas. Granted, she was paranoid about Zach because she didn’t know what was happening with him, but there are better ways to handle situations. Also, how did Zach’s amnesia cause him to mix up the two Zoeys so severely? They have absolutely nothing in common. Zoey Wallace is a soccer player. Zoey Miller is not. Zoey Wallace is clearly into more superficial things, and Zoey Miller is not. Let’s not forget that both Zoeys do not even remotely look like each other. Both girls are gorgeous, but come on, Zach, Zoey, and Zoey are waaay different.
This leads me to another issue. Zach had been dating Zoey for two weeks but didn’t know anything about her once he got amnesia. He didn’t even seem to be able to sense things about her. We don’t know anything about how amnesia works. Still, as we said, both Zoey’s didn’t have one thing in common, but Zach was sure that Zoey was his girlfriend despite the apparent differences in their personalities.
The Ending of The Other Zoey is a little all over the place.
The story falls flat once Zoey’s secret comes out that she isn’t Zach’s girlfriend, which, by the way, that moment with Zach realizing she wasn’t who she said she was felt rushed out. Zoey is ashamed of what she did to the point that she’s wearing baseball caps to class to disguise herself. Apparently, everyone in her class and on campus is talking about the girl who impersonated Zoey Wallace. That felt a tad unrealistic. In college, most people are too focused on their own lives to care about a girl pretending to be the girlfriend of another girl. And if they do pay attention to it, it’s short-lived, and life continues.
Zoey also gets depressed about the situation, yet another unrealistic moment. We say this because Zoey didn’t even know Zach enough to be this sad about them not seeing each other. We get that they had a good time on the ski trip and bonded a little, but it wasn’t enough for Zoey to be that down over a guy she barely even knew. The dude barely even knew himself, considering he was dealing with amnesia. Now, Zoey’s sadness about her and her bestie Elle being broken up? That was definitely believable.
The ending of The Other Zoey got even more contrived for us when the school’s mean girl, Becca (Amalia Yoo), first of all, do they even have mean girls in college? Approaches Zoey for help with some random livestream thingy that she wants Zoey to create so she can throw the biggest party ever. According to her, Zoey needs this to rehab her reputation. Ummm okay. First of all, if we were Zoey, we would have told Becca no. Zoey didn’t owe her anything at all. Especially not hours and hours of her brain power to create said live stream feed.
The party does happen, and after a lot of convincing from Elle, who informs Zoey that Zach and Zoey are no longer together, Zoey shows up to it for the last 20 minutes. And in her pajamas. We don’t know about ya’ll, but best friends don’t let best friends show up to parties in their PJs. Unless, of course, the party is a PJ party. Zoey sees Zach at the party, where she makes her very own grand gesture, and the two of them share a kiss. We wish we could say that this moment gave us those warm fuzzy “They were meant for each other” feelings, but it didn’t. We think this was because the story tried to do too much.
The perfect ending would have been for the audience to see Zach back home with his real girlfriend, Zoey. There could have been moments of him spending time with her while having flashes of Zoey and what he liked about her. From there, he could have then broken up with Zoey to be with Zoey. It would have been even cuter for Zach to show up again at the bookstore where Zoey worked, and he could say something corny like, “I’m looking for a book about compatibility, and I thought maybe you could help me.” There were so many different ways to end this film. It was a weird choice to end it with a party.
We really enjoyed the cast of this film. Langford is absolutely amazing, as always. Her comedic timing was everything. She had us laughing out loud at a lot of her moments. She’s always a delight in anything we’ve seen her in. Seeing her in a Rom-Com was nice because she’s actually very funny. We also have to point out that she had great chemistry with Starkey and Renaux. Despite the short time spent onscreen with Renaux, we did like them together, ya know, until he revealed himself as a douche. We also have to acknowledge Heather Graham who portrayed Zoey’s mom Paula. Next to Elle, she was one of Zoey’s biggest cheerleaders because all she wanted was for her daughter to be happy.
The Other Zoey isn’t a bad film, but we think it had the potential to be much better. We’ve seen our fair share of Rom-Coms, and this film had those elements, but unfortunately, the story just didn’t come together how we feel it should have.