WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Childhood friends Sasha and Marcus have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years. But when Sasha, now a celebrity chef in Los Angeles, returns to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant, she runs into her old pal -- a happily complacent musician still living at home and working for his dad. Though the two are reluctant to reconnect, they soon find the old sparks — and maybe some new ones — are there.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Always Be My Maybe was written by Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Michael Golamco. Ali and Randall – who have been friends for over 16 years in real life – star in the film as two friends who have always had chemistry but never really got it together and lost touch for several years. The pair eventually reunite, and sparks fly. Michael Golamco directs the film and creates a Nora Ephron meets sitcom feel for the overall visual tone of the film.
Sounds like the stock standard recipe for a rom-com that you've seen before, right? Not quite. Always Be My Maybe manages to subvert the genre by totally reversing the gender roles and making the woman – Sasha – played by Ali Wong, the protagonist for most of the movie. She goes out and gets what she wants while Randall's character, Marcus, lets life happen to him instead of going out into the ever-changing world and doing things that frighten him, like drinking iced coffee and performing with his band in a neighbourhood other than the one he grew up in. The film also changes things up by having two Asian American lead actors, which is not a common occurrence in the rom-com genre in Hollywood.
By making those small changes and creating well fleshed out characters in a world that that feels like home already, this Netflix film is one that I think a lot of people will end up watching over and over. I found the humour and references so relatable - I saw myself in every awkward moment or fumble, yet I also found myself learning about a new culture at the same time. Coupled with the fact that I went away learning about Asian food and laughing at Keanu Reeves; I cannot think of many things better.
There were several moments when I laughed out loud and couldn't take my eyes off my laptop screen. I put my phone down and didn't pick it up until the credits rolled to the tune of a song that even made me laugh.
My standout performance in the movie has to be Ali Wong, who to me, doesn't play the woman we saw on stage doing stand-up in two specials – on the same streaming service – but embodies a woman who has been so consumed with moving away from where she grew up that she lost herself in the process.
Overall my favourite thing about this movie is how Randall and Ali took a genre that is so worn in that it feels like home but made it fresh by adding their own story to it. It dives into Asian American culture in a way that I wish had been done before in a When Harry Met Sally way.
I love being able to see a diverse cast telling a universal story because I think it shows the best that humanity has to offer. It also helps that this movie is incredibly funny. It made me feel really, really good.
I would highly recommend watching this film with a glass of something to warm you up and someone whose company you enjoy.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: