Always Be My Maybe Review – Best RomCom Since Hitch

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The greatest Romantic Comedy since Hitch- Always Be My Maybe Review

I’m a sucker for a good RomCom. I grew up on 10 Things I Hate About You, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, and the pinnacle of RomComs, Hitch. While I’m a fan of many, Hitch stood alone at the top for a long time until I watched Always Be My Maybe. Starring Ali Wong and Randall Park, this romantic comedy from Netflix is about a pair of childhood best friends who drift apart and reconnect 16 years later. Wong plays Sasha Tran, a celebrity chef on the rise who is opening a new restaurant in her hometown of San Francisco. Park, plays Marcus Lee, a rather content struggling musician who also helps his dad run a heating and air conditioner business. Due to the winds of fate (or Wong, Park, and Michael Golamco’s writing), the estranged friends rekindle their relationship. True to the romcom format, the pair hit numerous hurdles that keep them apart, like celebrity love interests and personal issues. Do Marcus and Sasha end up together though? Is it possible the love of your life to have been there from the beginning? Hop onto whoever’s Netflix account you use and find out.

Directed by Nahnatchka Khan and filled with a slew lesser-known actors you’ve seen around like James Saito, Vivian Bang, Karan Soni, and Charlyne Yi, the film is not only well told, but feels very real. Even with the bigger named stars like Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves, the film never feels like someone was forced there for recognition or star power. Well, Keanu is somewhat there for his star power, but I don’t want to give too much away. Always Be My Maybe always feels as if this is really happening; if you turned around and listened to the people in your background, this is probably them. However, I might be projecting a lot as I am from Northern California, the characters are in my age group, and the main characters are Asian.

Always Be My Maybe is a romantic comedy in every sense of the word. It’ll likely be compared to When Harry Met Sally, which isn’t a bad thing, because it involves friends who do try to be friends and the film does follow the romcom format fairly closely. Friends together, friends drift, friends reconnect, friends get feelings, oh wait there are other people, oh dang there’s also deeply seeded personal issues they have to overcome to be with each other. It’s really not new. But, I think the proper way to frame it is like basketball. There are HUNDREDS of basketball plays per game, but there are very few that get a poster. Always Be My Maybe is a slam dunk, and it is apparent with the details.

First of all, the jokes are funny. They’re pointed without being mean, they’re wildly clever, and vary greatly from characters to situation. You can feel and experience a lot of Ali Wong’s humor that you know from her stand up, while you are charmingly chuckled by Randall Park’s highly underrated delivery. Keanu Reeves does an amazing job playing an eccentric, annoying, yet somehow still endearing character. It’s a strange amalgam that you know is not real but can’t help but believe. And his role leads to one of the most enjoyable end credit sequences of any film. Again, I don’t want to say too much, but it’s more of an audio experience.

Secondly, the film feels very grounded. The romance isn’t huge grand gestures that can only happen in movies. Not to brag, but for the most part, I’ve gone bigger in my gestures in my recent relationship that crashed and burn than most of the romantic gestures in this movie. But I think that’s why this film works so well. The little details that show a connection are very much noticeably unnoticeable. I know that’s a contradiction, but I guess I’m trying to say you feel it and don’t realize you’re seeing it, unless you’re trying really hard to get it into writing and you analyze everything and dissect it. My favorite example can be experienced in the trailer, it’s when Sasha reaches for some Siu Mai, and Marcus slides it away shaking his head. You get a sense of it in the trailer, but in context, you really feel the magic of that scene. There are numerous scenes like that, and not all are romantic. There are moments between friends, family, and even strangers.

Lastly, and this is a deeply personal take that will be expanded in another piece called something like “Why Always Be My Maybe is better for Asians than Crazy Rich Asians,” this is one of the few films that capture American Asians. I have waited decades to see myself on screen. I’m not talking about just an Asian guy, or that dude from Dusk Til Dawn (I really look like that Asian dude in that movie), I mean Asians who grew up in America raised by American Culture and Asian values. I relate a bit more to Sasha, as I do tend to carry resentment towards my parents and often treat them like a burden, but that is something very common with American Asians. A lot of us, are not friends with our parents. Then there are those like Marcus who do take care of our parents. I mean both sets of Asian parents seem way cooler than mine, so I’m getting 3rd gen vibes, at least from Marcus’s side. James Saito was hella chill. My white stepdad ain’t that chill. Anyway, but the way they carried themselves and immersed themselves with their friends and peers, is something that only one other film I know of has captured. As great as Crazy Rich Asians is and the movement it hopefully started, that’s not really American Asian, Always Be My Maybe is American AF. Also, their choice in music is exactly like mine, and I feel many of my age and demo would whole-heartedly agree.

Always Be My Maybe is the best romantic comedy since Hitch. I mean this in terms of enjoyment and also inspiration, cultural impact, and personal relation. Millions related to Albert Brennaman and aspired to be Alex Hitchins, millions more will relate and aspire to be Marcus and Sasha. The film is hilarious, touching, inspiring, and just a damn good amount of fun. Plus it’s hella Asian, without being political. I feel white people won’t feel guilted into watching it to support a minority group and will just watch it because they’re already fans of Ali Wong and Randall Park. Always Be My Maybe I feel, will be regarded as a great film and not a great Asian film. Meaning that people are just going to watch and enjoy it, without attributing an agenda to it. Which, in my opinion, is the goal and damn did they achieve that goal. My Always Be My Maybe review gets a 5/5.

 

Always Be My Maybe Review
5

TLDR

Always Be My Maybe is the best romantic comedy since Hitch. I mean this in terms of enjoyment and also inspiration, cultural impact, and personal relation. Millions related to Albert Brennaman and aspired to be Alex Hitchins, millions more will relate and aspire to be Marcus and Sasha. The film is hilarious, touching, inspiring, and just a damn good amount of fun. Plus it’s hella Asian, without being political. I feel white people won’t feel guilted into watching it to support a minority group and will just watch it because they’re already fans of Ali Wong and Randall Park. Always Be My Maybe I feel, will be regarded as a great film and not a great Asian film. Meaning that people are just going to watch and enjoy it, without attributing an agenda to it. Which, in my opinion, is the goal and damn did they achieve that goal.

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