Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: Always Be My Maybe

Netflix's new romcom stars Ali Wong and Randall Park.




Photo by Ed Araquel / Netflix
 

It’s befuddling to consider how many romantic comedies go wrong.

It’s a subgenre as easy to plot out as a slasher. Have two attractive, likable people meet; get them together; insert an obstacle to drive them apart; get them back together. We’re not exactly mapping out “Crime and Punishment,” here. Yet plenty of well-meaning films whiff at the attempt.

“Always Be My Maybe,” on the other hand, gets it all right. And in doing so, it proves how achievable that success should be (with a little care).

Your attractive, likable people are Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park). As best friends growing up in San Francisco, they were practically family; her parents were workaholics, his were doting. Inevitably, they ended up losing their virginity to one another in the back of Marcus’s very compact car. Marcus thoroughly fumbles the emotional follow-up, however, and they go their separate ways.

After a jump forward, Sasha is a celebrity chef; Marcus runs a humble heating and cooling business with his father. The pair haven’t spoken in years, but Sasha is returning to the Bay to open a new restaurant. They have a meet-cute — or a reunion-cute, I suppose — when Marcus shows up to get the A/C running in Sasha’s unfathomably large rental property.

The chemistry between the two is free and easy; they have enough of a spark to make both the premise (friends turned lovers) and the challenge (they really don’t know how to communicate) believable. A supporting cast lands jokes here and there without really pulling focus (though Vivian Bang gets in some choice moments).

Most importantly, though, “Always Be My Baby” is genuinely funny. That’s where many romcoms falter; somewhere between the stars and the kiss, there are supposed to be jokes. Wong and Park, who co-wrote the script (with Michael Golamco), have natural comic sensibilities — Wong is a stand-up comedian — and ensure that their film is a comedy first, without leaning on broad or bawdy humor.

Ample credit is also due to director Nahnatchka Khan, who deftly ensures that “Always Be My Maybe” remains Sasha’s story first and foremost; many directors might’ve seen this script as a two-hander, but Khan identifies Sasha as the protagonist. It’s the kind of movie that reminds you why these movies exist — to be smart, funny, pleasant and charming.

It’s not that hard. But it’s increasingly rare.

My Rating: 7/10

“Always Be My Maybe” begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: Toy Story 4

Pixar's signature series comes up with an enjoyable fourth chapter. Just don't set your expectations too high.

The Latest Restaurant Openings In Pittsburgh

We say hello to three new Galley Group concepts, plus Con Alma, Over Eden and Inner Groove Brewing.

The Business of Building Cookie Table Bridges

After her cookie table bridges proved to be a hit at her own wedding, a Pittsburgh bride has taken her idea to the next level.

All You Need to Know About Fireworks in Pennsylvania

With new state fireworks laws in place, Pennsylvanians will get a little more freedom to celebrate this Fourth of July.

July 2019: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

Check out some of the finest plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.

What We're Reading in July: The Pioneers

The Pioneers is historian and Point Breeze native David McCullough’s retelling of the settlement of the wilderness northwest of the Ohio River, which contained the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Perspectives: On Caring to See

A teacher at the University of Pittsburgh learns a lesson about street medicine.

PPG Paints Singin' the Blues for 2020 Color of the Year

Meant to offer relief from the anxieties of today’s fast-paced lifestyle, Chinese Porcelain is a mix of cobalt and ink blue. Here’s why you can expect to see more of it in the coming year.

Watch: The Best of Three Rivers Arts Festival

The 60th Three Rivers Arts Festival is history, but you can still soak in the memories of the music, art and food.

This Brit Fell in Love with Pittsburgh's Dirt

During the Civil War, a British writer was enchanted by Pittsburgh’s dirt and soot.

Artist Invites Public to Add to Time Capsule at Arts Festival

Toby Fraley’s love for historical photos inspired him to take the next step for Pittsburgh’s future.

New Dimensions: The Comic Book Store's Surprise Move

Comic-book (store) avengers. How a sprawling comic-book shop moved out of its longtime home — and reopened for business mere hours later.

PM on KD: Recent Restaurant Openings

PM food critic Hal B. Klein appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss recent Pittsburgh restaurant openings that have him excited.

One Person's Flip Flop is Another One's Art

Ocean Sole Africa’s mission is to reduce pollution and waste by collecting flip flops from the ocean and making them into art.

All In The (Giaramita) Family: La Tavola Italiana and Pizza Taglio

Family members run two distinct restaurants, one classic and one with a contemporary spin.