Friday, June 21, 2019

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Netflix
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Writer: Michael Golamco, Randall Park, Ali Wong
Actors: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi, Lyrics Born, Casey Wilson, Miya Cech, Emerson Min, Ashley Liao, Jackson Geach, Anaiyah Bernier, Raymond Ma, Peggy Lu, Simon Chin, Panta Mosleh, Karen Holness, JayR Tinaco

Blurb from IMDb: A pair of childhood friends end up falling for each other when they grow up.

Selina’s Point of View:
Netflix is just killing it with romantic comedies. Their originals are hit or miss, but their romantic comedies have been pretty on the ball for me.

I absolutely adored Always Be My Maybe. There were a few scenes where I was laughing so hard, I could barely breathe.

I’ll be honest, the place I know Ali Wong (Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Hero, Father Figures) from the most (aside from stand-up comedy) is Ask the Storybots (2016-2018). That’s another Netflix original. It’s a kid’s series that doesn’t make me want to rip my ears off and throw them at the screen. Unfortunately, that means that I’ve seen the episode featuring Wong about 900 times (this week), so her voice just kept bringing me back to Ask the Storybots. Totally not her fault. She rocked her part.

Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O, Allegiant, Lost) also gave me a bit of a problem with his voice. He voices a character in one of my favorite video game series’: Saints Row (2006-2015). Never-the-less, he made for a hell of a believable cocky obnoxious manager.

I didn’t have as hard a time with Randall Park (Aquaman, Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Interview). Although I’m very familiar with him, this part separated him really well from his past characters.

In fact, all the actors were amazing.

As for that meme-able Keanu Reeves (John Wick, Destination Wedding, Toy Story 4) scene? Fucking hilarious. 

This film tugged all the right strings and pushed all the right buttons. I felt exactly what it wanted me to feel at exactly the right time, but I didn’t feel manipulated into it. I definitely had more of that ‘fly on the wall’ experience.

I think Always Be My Maybe is worth watching.

One more note. For some reason, Netflix is really good at taking a scene that shouldn’t stand out and making it incredibly memorable. JayR Tinaco (Home and Away, Rake, Drown) had just a few lines in a very basic scene, but I can’t get them out of my head. They’re a newcomer to acting – according to IMDb – and I’m actually really looking forward to seeing them in other stuff.

Cat’s Point of View:
At the outset, I enjoyed the trailer for Always Be My Maybe. It looked cute, and I’m a sucker for a good play on words. Bonus? Keanu Reeves (The Bad Batch, Destination Wedding, Replicas). I think it’s fairly safe to say that I’ll watch just about anything he appears in. His film choices are fascinatingly eclectic and cross an impressive span of genres. His part here was amazing. I digress…

Back to the movie at hand.

There are so many rom-coms out there that are practically cookie-cutter. It felt like this movie took a familiar recipe and then gave it a little twist and a sprinkle of zest.

Two elements of this story stand out. First, I love the theme of food and family that binds the overall plot arc together. There are so many nuances that are well utilized to add heart and depth to the tale. The second factor that jumps out at me here is that, while Ali Wong’s (Savages, The Angry Birds Movie, Father Figures) character, Sasha, underwent somewhat of a caterpillar to butterfly transformation; she didn’t inherently attempt to change herself to make her relationships work. There are no makeover montages here, folks. No one tells her to ditch her glasses to be fabulous – she rocked those lenses as high-end accessories.

Aside from the themes I’ve already mentioned, the film also explores the concept of biological family vs. chosen family in addition to the more obvious of friendship, love, and loss.

There’s a bit of awkwardness and cringe factor here, but it’s not at an intolerable level and serves the story. There are moments in the dynamic between Wong and Randall Park (Snatched, Dismissed, Long Shot) that made me want to just squirm, but it worked overall.

I’ve got to say that Michelle Buteau (Singularity, Sell By, Tales of the City) was my spirit animal in this movie. Her confidence and sass as Wong’s bestie and business partner was phenomenal. I’m also a big fan of the fact that her role challenges typical stereotypes.

All told? I really enjoyed this movie. I wouldn’t mind watching it again (especially for the epic song that plays during the credits), and I certainly would recommend it. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 84%
Metascore – 64/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.9/10
IMDB Score – 6.9/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating5/5

P.S. Scenes and a song, by the band in the film, plays during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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