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How to watch ‘Self Reliance’: the best ways to stream Jake Johnson’s directorial debut


Originally set to hit Hulu back in September, then pushed back to November, Jake Johnson’s feature-length directorial debut Self Reliance is finally gracing us with its streaming presence this month.

The film, which originally premiered back in March 2023 at the SXSW Film Festival, centers around Tommy (Johnson), a middle-aged man stuck in a bit of a rut. Recently dumped by his girlfriend and living with his mom, Tommy is propositioned with an adventure that’ll change his life by none other than Andy Samberg. “From its hook, it is outlandish, hilarious, and mind-bending,” Mashable’s Kristy Puchko writes in her review of the film.

It took awhile, but Self Reliance is finally available to watch at home on Jan. 12. Here’s what you need to know to tune in.

Is Self Reliance worth watching?

“One of the delights out of SXSW 2023,” per Mashable’s film editor Kristy Puchko, Self Reliance was written and directed by lovable New Girl actor Jake Johnson. He’s also the star of the film. Ambitious much?

As it turns out, Johnson’s pretty good at pulling triple duty. The film isn’t perfect — it loses its footing in the third act, as Puchko politely put it — but it’s still “an enthralling and wildly fun directorial debut.” Audiences seem to largely agree, considering it’s earned an 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes as of the time of writing. Sure, the end could be sharpened a bit. But overall, “it’s undeniable that Self Reliance still hits its mark.”

Check out the official trailer below to get a glimpse at the twisted tale:

What streaming service is Self Reliance on?

Self Reliance makes its streaming debut exclusively on Hulu on Jan. 12, after quite a few delays and pushbacks. If you’re already a Hulu subscriber, you’re good to go. Just sign into your account on Jan. 12 (or anytime after) and Self Reliance will be waiting for you to click play. Not a subscriber? Read on to find out the best ways to sign up for free.

Can you watch Self Reliance for free?

Hulu still offers a generous one-month free trial, which is now a rarity in the streaming world. The bad news is you can only access that free trial if you’ve never subscribed to Hulu before or if you’re a returning customer who hasn’t recently subscribed (check eligibility and terms to see if you qualify). If you do qualify for the free trial, you’ll have plenty of time to watch Self Reliance and other Hulu exclusives for free. If not, there are still a few other ways to score a free or discounted subscription. Here’s what you need to know.

Best for most people: Hulu 30-day free trial

An entire month of free streaming? In 2024, it seems almost impossible to come across. But thankfully, Hulu is still keeping its trial period for newbies alive. As the streamer puts it, “You wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving it first, so that’s why Hulu offers free trials to new and eligible returning subscribers.” Bless you, Hulu. If you’re new to Hulu or coming back after a long break, you can take advantage of a 30-day free trial (which is valid for both the No Ads and With Ads plans) around the time of the Self Reliance release date. That will allow you to watch Jake Johnson’s feature-length directorial debut and plenty more on Hulu.

Once your trial is up, you’ll have to dish out either $7.99/month for the With Ads plan or $17.99/month for the No Ads plan to keep your subscription going. Otherwise, cancel before your trial ends to call it quits.

Best for T-Mobile customers: Hulu (With Ads) monthly subscription

Former Sprint Unlimited customers (now T-Mobile) can unlock free access to Hulu’s With Ads plan — so long as your account remains active and in good standing. (If you choose to switch plans or cancel, your subscription will be suspended.) T-Mobile customers on the Go5G Next plan can also enjoy free access to Hulu as of Jan. 24. Sure, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to watch Self Reliance, but it’ll be worth the $7.99/month in savings.

Mashable Deals

Best for students: Spotify Premium for Students with Hulu

Students hoping to watch their favorite grouchy-yet-adorable New Girl character conquer the film world have a couple great options. Our personal pick is signing up for Spotify Premium for Students. Not only can you kick things off with a free one-month trial, but you’ll also unlock access to Hulu with ads for no cost. In other words, you can watch Self Reliance and other Hulu exclusives, plus listen to all your favorite tunes ad-free for an entire month without spending a dime. Even better, following the trial period, you’ll only have to pay $5.99/month for both Spotify Premium and Hulu with ads. The only requirement is a .edu email address that can be verified through SheerID.

Another option is to open a Hulu student account on its own, which doesn’t offer a free trial, but only costs $1.99/month. The same .edu email address rules apply.

Other ways to watch Self Reliance

If you’re ineligible for any of the free options, you can still save some money a couple of ways. You could commit to a full year and save about 16%, rather than paying monthly. Or you could bundle your Disney+ account with Hulu and ESPN+ and save over 40%. These options certainly aren’t as good as the free ones, but they’ll still help you keep more of your hard-earned cash.

Best for long-term viewing: Hulu (With Ads) annual subscription

Hulu will knock 16% off your subscription cost if you sign up for a year of streaming upfront, rather than paying monthly. That drops the $7.99/month cost down to $6.67/month for a total of $79.99 for the year. The good news is you’ll have plenty of time to watch Self Reliance, plus re-watch Jake Johnson in every episode of New Girl. Win-win.

Best bundle deal: Disney Duo Basic or Trio Basic Bundle (With Ads)

The Disney Bundle remains one of the best streaming deals you can get your hands on. For just $9.99/month, you can unlock access to all of the content on Disney+ and Hulu — just $2 more than paying for Hulu on its own. If you’re a sports fan as well, you can add ESPN+ into the mix and pay just $14.99/month, which saves you over 40% each month. If you’re just looking to watch Self Reliance and be on your way, it’s probably not your best option. But for those looking to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to streaming, this is your best bet.





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