Netflix has been killing it with the rom-coms - To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, Set It Up - and now, Always Be My Maybe. It was released last Friday, May 31, and I've already watched it twice.
The movie was directed by Nahnatchka Khan, who developed the TV show Fresh Off The Boat. The script was co-written by Ali Wong and Randall Park, who also co-star in the film. You likely know Ali Wong from her stand-up comedy specials, Hard Knock Wife and Baby Cobra. I have to be honest, I tried to watch the first one, and after 25 minutes it was just too much yelling.
In Always Be My Maybe, Wong plays Sasha Tran, a celebrity chef returning to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant. Her childhood best friend, Marcus Kim (Randall Park), re-enters her orbit when he and his dad show up to her rental house to install central air.
*SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you do not want to know anything about the plot of this movie.*
Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Sasha and Marcus grew up next door to each other. Sasha's parents worked constantly, so she basically lived at the Kim family's house, eating dinner with them most nights.
In high school, Sasha and Marcus lose their virginity to each other in the back of Marcus' Toyota Corolla. Soon after, while waiting in line at Burger King, they have a blow up fight that keeps them from talking for the next 16 years.
When they're face-to-face for the first time as grown ups, they fall right back into their old rhythms. Marcus doesn't waste any time making fun of Sasha, and as if on cue, she fires back with witty retorts.
As Sasha and Marcus are getting to know each other again, we meet many hilarious characters:
- Veronica - Sasha's best friend from childhood, who is now her executive assistant, played by Michelle Buteau. You may recognize her from the Netflix movie Someone Great.
- Jenny - Marcus' girlfriend. I actually think she is one of the best characters in the movie. There's a scene where she asks to cook for Sasha, and delivers her a plate of the most disgusting-looking pasta with sausage. I actually thought it was cut up hot dog.
- Harry Kim - Marcus' very sweet dad, played by James Saito. Mr. Kim pushes Marcus to really tell Sasha how he feels. As a widower, he also falls for a Diana Ross impersonator, a hilarious twist later in the movie.
- Keanu Reeves - As himself! According to several interviews, Keanu agreed to be in the movie because he was such a huge fan of Ali Wong's stand up. His cameo as Sasha's new love interest is hysterical. There is one scene where they are dining in a concept restaurant, that had me on the verge of tears I was laughing so hard at the absurdity of it all.
For me, the best portion of the movie is the final 15 minutes. Marcus and Sasha had a huge fight (are you sensing a pattern?) right before she was scheduled to go to New York to work on her next restaurant. After she flies away, Marcus begins to make some radical changes to his life in an attempt to win her back, culminating in a romantic speech (more like a plea) that reminded me so much of Tom Cruise's speech at the end of Jerry Maguire.
As the credits roll, Mariah Carey's timeless love song "Always Be My Baby" plays, which feels like the most perfect ending.
Do Sasha and Marcus have amazing chemistry? No. But they do have a relationship based on a lifetime of friendship that is honest, sweet, awkward, and ultimately, endearing.
Tell me, have you watched? What did you think?