With an extended cameo of Keanu Reeves, this infinitely meme-able Netflix original is too good to miss for its well-crafted dialogues, trendy humour, and cultural traces of the Asian-American sensibility
Netflix has restored their promise of chilling at home once again, in the original feature category, with the Rom-Com, “Always Be My Maybe”(2019), or "ABMM." With an extended cameo of Keanu Reeves, this infinitely meme-able Netflix original is too good to miss for its well-crafted dialogues, trendy humour, and cultural traces of the Asian-American sensibility.
Featuring childhood BFFs (best friends forever), long-time-no-see and then reconciliation-after-ages film, "ABMM" has all the typical genre elements, yet the execution is fascinating, trendy and gripping all the way around.
Internationally renowned chef Sasha (Ali Wong), and homesick local musician Marcus (Randal Park), were once childhood BFFs, but now they are as close as two complete strangers on a train can be. Life goes on, and things do not remain unchanged forever; nor do they. At the beginning of the film, Marcus’s mother Judy, foreshadows the whole plot by saying: "To start with the thing that can fly away."
The timeline is 1996 to 2019 and the setting, San Francisco and Los Angeles: Sasha and Marcus oscillate between bringing back memories as well as reaching the happy-sad climactic resolution.
Sasha always had a thing for Marcus who is as characters in this genre go, cute and dumb enough not to notice Sasha’s romantic inclinations, until it is too late. The childhood love birds got separated, nested individually, and meet after a prolonged separation, making them speculate if it is nostalgia or real love that makes them feel alive again. Will they be able to resolve the challenge and reset everything? Though there is nothing much to do except enjoy the intimate ride into Sasha and Marcus’s strange love story.
The plot is predictable and unoriginal but the chemistry between Ali and Randall is spontaneous and natural. They are not only the stars of the film, but also co-wrote the script with Micahel Glamco. Last but not least, Randal Park actually wrote and sang three of the film’s original sound track, including “I punched Keanu Reeves” as the end credit background score.
Mood-wise the sound tracks were appropriate and invigorating, dialogues were punchy, and the performances of the protagonists and sidekicks were equally in keeping with the mood for, well, not love, but poking fun.
Peeping briefly into an actual chef’s life and a local music band are among the many things in the film that might keep you hooked if the story does not. There is no delay, no saucy romanticism, but a curious way to look on with excitement and awe at memoirs of the past and the momentum of the present. It's fast, it’s terrific, right down to the business: linear and clear-cut.
The scene transitions are tricky, fresh, young and bold. A dedicated audience cannot help but notice a brilliant match cut that transits them from a childhood setting to the adulthood scenario. Criticism of stardom, vague rich trends, and above all, “I punched Keanu Reeves in the face,” are enough to keep you away from your cell-phone while you are watching the movie.
The film can comfortably be seen as “Always Be My Baby” (like the famous Mariah Carey song which sounds very much like the movie’s title, “Always Be My Maybe”!!) Except, the latter seems more functional and true to life, yet riveting and intriguing.
Looking for something like the classic rom-com “When Harry Met Sally...”(1989) but with modern tweaks? Then go for “Always Be My Maybe”(2019) and thank Netflix.