Updated: Jun 18
Recently, Netflix released an original romantic comedy called Always Be My Maybe directed by Nahnatchka Khan starring Ali Wong and Randall Park. Although it was cute and charming, it was overall just another forgettable flop in the rom-com world.
This film dug into some familiar (and dated) romantic comedy tropes that frankly we don’t need to see any more. First off, the friends growing up together ending up as lovers- it’s just exhausting. Especially when dealing with the long debated topic that men and women can’t just be friends (spoiler alert: they can). The film also made an effort to still joke about more accepted topics in our modern society. Just to list off a few we have: Polyamory, Disability, Activism, Classism, and the list continues on. Often, I felt uncomfortable waiting for the next zinger to hit. Netflix, a trailblazer in modern script writing has hit this snafu before with last years release of Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Samuels, 2018), so you would think they learned their lesson. This, paired with the idea of making another female character come off as “worse” than the main love interest, was not a good feather in their cap.
The actors just didn’t have the right chemistry. Throughout the movie they just came off as comfortable friends.
A romantic story line felt pushed, even though that was the entire plot of the film. I normally don’t view romantic comedies, but I am not afraid to admit that I get swept up in the love affair between the two leads. In the recent past, Netflix has released more creative attempts that have a better lasting impression ( Nappily Ever After (al-Mansour, 2018) and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Johnson, 2018)). Both with equally diverse casting, phenomenal direction from women filmmakers, and strong female leads. As much as I love Randall Park and Ali Wong, I would have been satisfied with an ending as them just being left as friends.
While discussing the actors, I believe their performances were amazing, Wong and Park are both very gifted actors with fantastic comedic timing. Keanu Reeves’ feature in the film was a fun way to spice up the second act, but I still was bored most of the time. The dialogue was not stellar, and I just was not as invested in the lives of these characters as I had hoped to be.
Overall, this film had it’s charming moments, but I just wanted a little more out of it. I loved seeing multiple cultures highlighted throughout this movie, and from what I understand an accurate portrayal of Asian American life in San Francisco. Getting more voices and films out like this is a step in the right direction for its normalization. In an era of innovative filmmaking, following a typical plot is a recipe for disaster. It’s okay that every once in a while there is a flop; that’s what makes filmmaking such a daunting and yet rewarding challenge. This movie is fun for a night in and some time to just shut off your brain, but other than that, it’s just another typical romantic comedy.