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After We Collided

After We Collided 2020 Full Movie Review

Hardin will always be… Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with – or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of the passionate nights they spent together. Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She’s focused on her studies and just starting an exciting new internship at Vance Publishing. She’s also being pursued by Trevor, a handsome new co-worker who is exactly the kind of guy she should be with. Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He wants to right his wrongs and overcome his demons. He’s not going to lose Tessa without a fight. But can he change? Will he change… for love? AFTER WE COLLIDED… Life will never be the same.

It would be unfair to blame Harry Styles for “After We Collided,” the sequel to 2019’s “After,” just because both films are based on a series of novels that evolved from One Direction fan-fiction. But he should maybe lie low for a bit because by the time the end credits roll like a potential warrant list, we are looking for someone — anyone — to blame.

“This is a story you’ve heard before,” drones the toneless opening voiceover, but thing is, we really haven’t, because this is not a story. It is a numbingly repetitive series of manufactured minor dramas between the two terminally self-involved, staggeringly uninteresting protagonists of the first film, which set the bar so low it has to be the result of special effort that the sequel fails to clear it. “After” was merely awful. “After We Collided” is atrocious. Naturally, it’s proving an enormous pandemic-era hit.

The primary culprit is Anna Todd, author of the novels, who steps in as co-screenwriter with Mario Celaya. Apparently believing the sole problem with the first film was its PG-13 squeakiness (that was merely one of its problems), here the writers pepper the screenplay with f-bombs and gratuitous sexual encounters made somehow more clumsy by director Roger Kumble’s anodyne Gap commercial aesthetic. Exchanges like “Haven’t you got some carpet to munch on?” “Haven’t you got some d— to suck?” feel about as organic to the film’s ecosystem as an old condom in a glass of milk. And with most of the nasty delivered by and at women, it really does teach the exact wrong lessons about sexual rivalry, slut-shaming and how you don’t really love a guy unless you’ve messed up some catty b—’s ombre hair extensions over him.

Josephine Langford returns as Tessa, while the role of troubled hunk Hardin Scott is reprised by Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who is an actor and not some beloved tinned British brandycake used as a poultice for shrapnel wounds in times of war. As before, Hardin is basically Rebel Mr. Potato Head — a perfect plastic blank accessorized with stuck-on leather jacket, tattoos and whisky bottle — with Tessa similarly featureless beneath waved hair, dewy complexion and oddly frumpy costuming.

As doubtless you recall, “After” ended with their tentative reunion, after Hardin’s Terrible Betrayal (he initially pursued Tessa as a dare) had been discovered by his recently deflowered paramour. Psych! The happy end was all in Hardin’s mind; actually he is drunk-sleeping in his car, and she is having her extremely realistic first day as a publishing house intern. Within 24 hours, Tessa has discovered the firm’s next bestseller, been whisked off for a wild night with an investor and been bought a gaudy cocktail dress on the company dime, in which she can totter down a staircase to dazzle her co-workers. Lovestruck accountant Trevor (Dylan Sprouse, the film’s sole bright spot) is duly dazzled.

But she is pining for Hardin, and when his mother (Louise Lombard) comes to visit, Tessa agrees a little too quickly to pretend they’re still together for the sake of this woman she’s never met. Fake-out leads to make-out and soon “Hessa” are a couple again, much to the disappointment of Hardin’s ex-squeeze Molly (Inanna Sarkis)m who spends the rest of the movie delivering side-eye so noxious one imagines it dripping off her lashes and burning through the carpets of the floor beneath. To be honest, her bile is relatable: Many of us will spend most of the film’s runtime wishing to see — indeed actively fantasizing about — something actually bad happening to these two chemistry-free personality vacuums to give them something to really mope about. Sadly, even a briefly promising car crash turns out not only to be non-lethal, but so innocuous that everyone forgets about it two scenes later.

The sequel to After, After We Collided isn’t the first follow-up movie based on a book that was initially based on fanfiction – that distinction would go to Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, Fifty Shades Darker – but it certainly digs into its roots and offers its audience exactly what they want. Based on the After book series by Anna Todd, which she originally published as fanfiction about One Direction member Harry Styles, After We Collided continues the love story established in After, but amps up the drama even more than its already melodramatic predecessor. After We Collided is riddled with cliches and tired young adult tropes, but its dramatic romance and laughable dialogue offers some escapist fun.

The movie picks up one month following the conclusion of After, in which the tumultuous relationship between Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) ended when it was revealed Hardin slept with Tessa for a bet. In After We Collided, Tessa is attempting to move on, starting an internship at Vance Publishing, where she meets the respectable and by-the-numbers Trevor Matthews (Dylan Sprouse). However, Tessa and Hardin can’t stay away from each other, and get pulled back into each other’s orbit, first when Tessa calls Hardin while drunk, then when Tessa learns Hardin hasn’t told his mother Trish (Louise Lombard) about their breakup and agrees to play along that they’re still together. Their renewed relationship hits some roadblocks, though, as it becomes apparent Tessa struggles to trust Hardin after his betrayal, and it’s unclear if Hardin is truly dedicated to working through his issues.

Duration: 105 min

Release:

IMDb: 5.0