The other day, my husband, Julio, came home from work and wanted to watch reruns of Scandal, like we have been doing. I was about ten minutes into Always Be My Maybe, Netflix’s new romantic comedy, and in the time it took him to check his email he got sucked into the movie. Julio is not much of a movie lover, so that actually says a lot.
Always Be My Maybe tells the story of childhood best friends, Marcus (Randall Park) and Sasha (Ali Wong), who grow apart after a tragedy and a fight when they were young adults. Years later, Sasha, now a celebrity chef, comes home to San Francisco to open a new restaurant, fresh off getting dumped by her horrible fiancé. Meanwhile, Marcus works for his dad’s (James Saito) heating business and is still with his mediocre band. Michelle Buteau also stars as Sasha’s best friend, Veronica.
The highlight of this movie is definitely the scene in which Sasha, Marcus, Marcus’s hippie girlfriend, and Sasha’s new boyfriend go out for a tasting menu at a trendy high-end restaurant. To start, when Sasha’s boyfriend, who she met at a party she catered, walks in, he’s Keanu Reeves. I thought maybe he was playing a Hollywood exec or something but quickly realized that he’s playing himself. Or, rather, a caricature of himself. Then, each course that comes out is increasingly ridiculous, a clear send-up of fancy, trendy food. Marcus is all of us when he exclaims furiously that he is still hungry after a $6,400 meal. The dinner scene could have been the whole movie and I would have been satisfied.
In general Always Be My Maybe is an average-to-good romcom. It plays on some familiar tropes such as the friends who realize they’re in love with each other and the strong female character who is asked to choose between her work and love. The film also has a fun, silly tone and a cast that has a lot of chemistry together. I appreciated how it takes the film in directions that put a slightly more modern twist on the old tropes, but it does not do anything spectacular aside from that prize of a dinner scene. It is, however, fun and great for a night in.
Always Be My Maybe was written by Michael Golamco and Randall Park and directed by Nahnatchka Khan. It runs 1 hour 42 minutes and is rated PG-13.
I also watched The Perfection, the new horror movie streaming on Netflix, after seeing several articles about how nauseating it was. I did not really think about how counterintuitive that choice was until I was actually watching the movie and periodically considering turning it off because it was so upsetting.
In the film, Charlotte (Allison Williams) is a talented cellist who had to leave the elite music school she attended in order to care for her dying mother. Years later, after her mother passes away, she reconnects with her teachers, Anton (Steven Weber) and Paloma (Alaina Huffman), and becomes involved with their new star pupil, Lizzie (Logan Browning) briefly before their relationship goes violently wrong.
Quickly, the film starts to toss in misdirections which may lead the audience to think that they know where the story is heading. The story unfolds for about a half an hour before rewinding and showing key details that we did not see the first time through, providing a deeper and more horrifying understanding of what happened. This pattern happens twice, keeping the audience on its toes. In all its twists and turns, the story is gross, violent, and disturbing. Eventually it morphs into a story about revenge over sexual assault and cooperation between brave, talented women, but it is a bumpy ride that had me wanting to vomit a couple of times. It think that fans of horror may be interested in The Perfection because of how stylized it is, playing with genre conventions. It also features strong performances from Williams and Browning. It was not, however, a terribly enjoyable viewing experience.
The Perfection was written by Eric C. Charmelo and Richard Shepard, who also directed. It runs 90 minutes and is rated TV-MA for violence and sexuality.