Flipping the Trope
While Sasha is a highly successful, award-winning chef, Marcus still lives with his dad and is his partner in their a/c installation business. Essentially it’s the failure to launch due to fear of risks, except from the male perspective. And let’s be clear, Marcus isn’t a loser. He’s just a normal person living a well-balanced life. Sasha is the abnormal person, being a celebrity chef in LA.
What’s It About?
The general plot kicks off of with the understanding that Sasha is moving back to San Fran for a few months with her big deal fiancé to set up and open her new restaurant there. Just before the move, her fiancé gets an opportunity in India and takes it, while also suggesting they “take a break and see other people.”
Sasha’s high school friend turned personal assistant, Veronica (Michelle Buteau), already got them a luxury home rental in the Bay Area, and being the awesome Best Friend character, realizes it’s now the perfect time to reconnect Sasha to Marcus. So she uses the Kims’ air conditioning company to install a/c in rental home, and the reconnect happens. Mind you, if you’re rolling your eyes at how convenient this is, you probably aren’t the target audience.
Comedy That’s Current But Not Obscure
The California celebrity lifestyle and hipster infiltration of San Francisco serve as the comedic elements for each protagonist. These give it a current feel and despite being somewhat over-the-top, really works well as a through joke. The screenplay is co-written by Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Michael Golamco, which is apparent in the script’s jokes.
The realism of Marcus is delightful. His Corolla is falling apart even in high school and it definitely gave me some flashbacks. The sets are well dressed and the attention to detail is excellent. I really loved the production value in it, which wasn’t overlooked at any point.
One thing I’ve noticed in comedies of late is the type of jokes or comedic elements are too obscure for me. A lot of content written by 27-30 year olds leans towards a really specific comedy style that I can’t seem to relate to. Guess I’m just an old fuddy duddy now? Regardless, Always Be My Maybe isn’t obscure at all.
Well-developed Characters and Quality Writing Make the Movie
The performances are on point. The Keanu Reeves cameo surpasses brilliance! I’m still laughing thinking about it. All in all, the characters are well developed, likeable, and well-acted. The secondary characters of Sasha and Marcus’ parents were one of my favorite parts, especially Mr. Kim (James Saito).
There’s a comfortable mix of hyperbolic, exaggerated characters traditional to slapstick or sketch comedy and normal characters with clever dialogue and situational humor to keep it balanced. What’s really refreshing about it is that no character — especially no female character — is “too much.” Even the exaggerated ones feel believable and like someone you might know (even if you’re not friends with them).
I don’t want to spoil you because it’s worth watching. I’ll just assure you that the relationship arcs play out intriguingly enough and the ending is incredibly satisfying. To cap it all off, they close with the Mariah Carey song “Always Be My Baby” and cut to a title card right on cue. I laughed out loud; the trend of this viewing experience.