New on Netflix this weekend is the romantic-comedy, "Always Be My Maybe," a fairly average entry into the genre elevated to "must-see" status because of a hilarious extended cameo...and an original song that is my current vote for Best Song of 2019.
Randall Park has seemingly been in everything. He has over 140 acting credits to his name, and is maybe most recognizable from his role as Louis on ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat." He finally gets his chance to be a leading man in "Always Be My Maybe."
Marcus (Park) still has feelings for his childhood friend, Sasha (Ali Wong). Despite being the best of friends growing up, they had a sexual encounter in high school that sent them on different paths in life...that is, until they randomly reconnect as 30-something adults. Sasha has gone on to become a celebrity chef and Marcus still lives with his widowed dad (James Saito), and is the lead singer of a local band...his other hobbies include smoking pot all day long.
After their chance encounter, they don't know it yet (even if the viewer does), but they still have feelings for one another. The timing is off for several reasons, but in movies like this, love always has a tendency to find a way.
That's the main issue with the film: It hits on all of those normal rom-com clichés that we've come to know and only sometimes love. There is a good chemistry between Marcus and Sasha, maybe because of the (platonic) history the two have in real-life (Wong worked as a writer on "Fresh off the Boat" while Park acted in it, and the two are credited as co-writers on this film as well).
But just when things were going along and being all predictable, something magical happens about 1 hour in...and I won't spoil it here. Let's just say that Sasha introduces Marcus to her new celebrity boyfriend on a double-date, and what had become a cute, forgettable rom-com suddenly becomes laugh-out-loud hilarious. This "boyfriend" stays around for about two scenes and about 15 minutes of screen-time, but it is so worth it.
Then, something funny (no pun intended) happens on the other side of the cameo: We end up sort of caring about the two main characters. Yes, by the end of this light and care-free comedy, you may actually crack a smile, and even shed a tear.
But the end of "Always Be My Maybe" is just the beginning: Be CERTAIN to listen through the end credits...you'll find a song that is original and once again laugh-out-loud funny. Listening to it, I couldn't help but dream of watching Randall Park perform it at the Oscars.
The cameo and end credit song alone make "Always Be My Maybe" worth checking out. This is a good-hearted, well-intentioned romantic comedy that literally packs a punch.
Genre: Comedy, Romance.
Run Time: 1 hour 41 minutes.
Starring: Randall Park, Ali Wong, Daniel Dae Kim, Casey Wilson, Keanu Reeves.
Written by Michael Golamco, Randall Park, Ali Wong.
Directed by Nahnatchka Khan (feature-film debut).
"Always Be My Maybe" is available on Netflix starting Friday, May 31st, 2019.
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