Netflix seems to be at the forefront of pushing the Rom-Com back into the cultural zeitgeist right now. Last year they gave us The Set Up and To All The Boys I Loved Before, whilst this year there was Isn’t It Romantic and Someone Great. Now they bring us Always Be My Maybe from director Nahnatchka Khan.
Always Be My Maybe stars Ali Wong and Randall Park, who also wrote the film, as two childhood friends who lose contact. They reconnect 16 years later while Wong’s Sasha is a successful celebrity chef, and Park’s Marcus finds himself stunted, still living with his dad. There nothing particularly groundbreaking about the story, it hits all the notes you would want a Rom-Com to hit, and fills in the gaps with some great comedic and heartwarming moments. Wong and Park are well established comedy voices, and so it is no surprise that they are able to use the Rom-Com framework to deliver some really great laughs.
But not only have they done a good job in writing the film, but both Wong and Park are delightful in the starring roles. They have the charm and the chemistry to carry the film, and certainly deliver on the film’s more heartfelt moments. The masterstroke in the film is Keanu Reeves’ appearance as a fictionalised version of himself. Keanu clearly had a lot of fun with the role, playing a pretentious ‘douche’ interpretation of his own character, similar in style to Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold and Kumar movies. It is always great when an actor is self deprecating enough to mock themselves, and Keanu does a great job playing this up.
One of the funniest and most enjoyable aspects of the film is the music. Randall Park’s character Marcus is in band in the film, and the songs that Park, and producer Dan the Automator have written are hilarious, fun, and also very catchy. The closing song, ‘I Punched Keanu Reeves’, in particular stands out as for all the above reasons whilst also including a meta level to the music.
And whilst on the whole Always Be My Maybe follows a lot of familiar Rom-Com beats, it is important for us to represent more cultures in film, and this film does that with a great amount of heart and humour. Certainly enough to warrant a watch.