ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE is a sweet rom-com about old friends and new beginnings [review]

Commentary, Film and Television

Always Be My Maybe is a rom-com whether a “meant to be” relationship can actually work in practice.

Ali Wong and Randall Park (who co-wrote the film with Michael Golamco) star as two old friends who re-connect after years apart. In the decade-and-half since she last saw Marcus, Wong’s Sasha has grown into an ambitious celebrity chef. Park’s Marcus, on the other hand, is a chronic underachiever who moonlights as the lead singer of a nerd-rap band. They’re also both in not-quite-right relationships, which the movie makes short work of. Sasha’s 50-year-old fiancé convinces her that they can strengthen their relationship living apart and seeing other people; Marcus’s hippie girlfriend is last seen fawning over Keanu Reeves (yes, that Keanu Reeves).

Once the lovers reconnect, the only obstacles to their happiness are Marcus’s insecurities, which have him confined to a life of mediocrity masquerading as authenticity. This occasionally manifests as hostility towards Sasha’s celebrity lifestyle and Asian fusion cooking (“Asian food isn’t supposed to be elevated – it’s supposed to be authentic!” he argues). Thankfully, Park plays the character with enough sweetness that his occasional boorishness comes off as anxiety rather than cruelty.

Always Be My Maybe hits all the standard heartwarming beats that distinguish the modern romantic comedy, but knows which clichés to dispense with. What I found refreshing is that neither half of the couple has to change drastically to be worthy of the other. Sasha, in another rom-com, may have been an uptight workaholic who needs Marcus to teach her to loosen up; in this one, she’s a well-adjusted and fun person in her own right (she even likes his lame band!) And slacker Marcus doesn’t have to upend his whole life to keep up with his glamourous girlfriend; he just needs to come out of his shell and embrace being arm-candy.

The movie also benefits from witty dialogue and several wonderfully absurd sequences, including an awkward double date with Reeves that ends in a fistfight. All in all, it’s a cute, breezy rom-com about old friendships and new beginnings.

Title: Always Be My Maybe

Director: Nahnatchka Khan

Screenwriters: Ali Wong, Randall Park, & Michael Golamco

Year: 2019

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