Typically, when Netflix drops a new rom-com you expect a pretty straightforward cut-and-paste story that the film will make up for with some cheesy and/or genuinely funny humour. That’s what I thought we we getting here but, in a turn of events, it’s the story that is clever and interesting and the humour that is just alright.
Always Be My Maybe follows two best friends, Marcus (Randall Park) and Sasha (Ali Wong), who after a falling out haven’t seen each-other in 16 years. They later reconnect and begin to realise that maybe there has always been something between them. Oh and Keanu Reeves plays Keanu Reeves, just thought you should know.
In a world where Netflix rom-coms are everywhere, and they typically come and go like some late afternoon rain, Always Be My Maybe is one that stands out above the rest due to the charm and emotion of its story. It’s a very lively and upbeat film, that no doubt has its more sombre moments, but for the most part it has you invested in the development of this great central relationship. It starts off a little slow, and takes its time getting into the meat of the story, but does really well setting up the story and the characters with certain scenarios and bits of information that pay off later.
Right from the get-go it has you invested in these two characters, the lives they are both living, and how the two of them come together after so long. It wants you to root for both of these characters and it works phenomenally because it’s evident their paths are destined to continue crossing. The way the relationship develops and hits its highs and lows makes for a story that is funny, emotional, and hits you in ways you may not see coming. It’s odd saying the story is stronger than the humour but it’s true. This is a beautiful story that doesn’t have any major faults, aside from a slow start, and is one that I wholly bought into the whole way through.
I mentioned the comedy in here not being as strong as the story and unfortunately that’s true. Both Ali Wong and Randall Park are hilarious actor comedians with the two of them displaying that fact in their previous roles and/or comedy specials. They both had a hand in writing this film but unfortunately there aren’t any major laugh-out-loud moments. There is comedy, there are laughable moments sprinkled throughout the film, but it’s not as funny as it was made out to be. Some of the humour didn’t hit as intended, the majority did work, it just never paved the way for any big comedic moments. So where that’s a shame, it’s made up for by the strength of the story and the performances.
Ali Wong and Randall Park are incredible together in this film. Their energy and charm throughout is electric and definitely what makes the story so interesting. The back and forth between them has you buying their connection as 100% authentic. They both do well in delivering some of the comedic moments and also in delving deep into the more emotionally impactful scenes. They exhibit a great deal of range here and make every second thoroughly enjoyable. They get some help from the supporting cast, some of whom aren’t great, but none of them really have too much of a presence to make a negative impact.
Keanu Reeves however is a shining light who graces us with his presence for part of this film. He plays himself, but a fictionalised and more exaggerated version of himself, and it’s just great to see him poking fun at himself and having fun. It’s weird but if anyone can do weird well and make it still entertaining it’s Keanu.
Always Be My Maybe isn’t one of the greatest romantic comedies ever, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable one thanks to the strength of the romantic love story. It’s one you can resonate with as the story being told is interesting and touches on some gripping social commentary. It’s led by two great performances from Ali Wong and Randall Park who are the reason everything in here works so well. In the end, it’s a fun ride and one you don’t want to get off which means it’s served its purpose.