Romance is rarely afraid to get a little awkward…
While Always Be My Maybe follows some pretty standard tropes it succeeds thanks to some naturalistic charms and great leading performances.
Childhood friends Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) 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.
Yeah, as a film we’ll admit that there are moments in Always Be My Maybe that absolutely drag and occasionally clunk but a natural charm and a fairly realistic tone it does manage to show how love doesn’t fall into any kind of discernible types and when something is right you just have to make that leap and go for it.
Director Nahnatchka Khan actually does a pretty decent job in working through the story and telling in an effective fashion without too many predictable flourishes. It’s a film on a budget without a doubt and while there are moments you can tell this was a fairly inexpensive production but we never get taken out of the moment and it has some genuine flow no matter how predictable some of the moments can get. The script from Michael Golamco and co-stars Ali Wong and Randall Park has some genuine pop to it. It plays into racial stereotypes but not in an offensive way allows the comedy to come out in some very natural and honest ways. It all steers away from any goofy storytelling tropes and tries to give something honest about two old friends reconnecting.
If you’re catching a When Harry Met Sally kind of vibe so far then you’d be right and while this premise which has been done to death and feels as tired as you can imagine does actually work because both Ali Wong and Randall Park bring some genuine natural charm to it all. They work well together; with one as the glamorous pseudo celebrity and the other and the creative stoner schlub. They banter off of one another exceptionally well and we get invested in the both of them as characters from very early on.
It’s undoubtedly comfort food and an incredibly well crafted piece of commercial art which is shockingly self aware (there’s a cameo that we won’t spoil and a Netflix joke that is a little on the nose but still hilarious) but it all works because it’s actually some genuine honest commentary about the importance of family and of living your life and finding happiness but doing it on terms that work for everyone involved.
This would have died theatrically for a variety of reasons, but Always Be My Maybe takes not only the rom-com but the commentary on the modern Asian experience, and the importance of living your best it life. It all lets us appreciate and most importantly smile about the need to be loved without compromise that we call share.
- Release Date: 5/31/2019