Film Review: ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (USA 2019) ****

Always Be My Maybe Poster

A pair of childhood friends end up falling for each other when they grow up.


Nahnatchka Khan

Reviewers had to sign a waiver not to disclose any key plot points or surprises of this rom com before given a screening link.  After watching the film, one can see the reason.  The first surprise the waiver  cautioned reviewers not to reveal is the identity of a guest celebrity which turns out to be the film’s funniest moment leading to the most laughs of the entire film within the following 15 minutes.

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE is a romantic comedy.  Romantic comedies is the least liked of my film genres as these films are typically cliche ridden, predictable, unfunny and comes off even worse if the chemistry of the couple is off skelter.  What happened to the successful and very entertaining Rock Hudson and Doris Day romantic comedies that were so much fun and so entertaining?  This is despite the fact that Hudson was gay and Day was the over prude gal who always said no when it comes to sex.  Fortunately ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE, the new Netflix original comedy works.  And very well too.  It is much funnier that the last Asian romantic comedy CRAZY RICH ASIANS.

The plot is simple enough – the simpler, the less restrictions to tell the story and hence the more opportunity for laughs.  Childhood friends end up having an awkward sex moment when they grow up as teens leads to a misunderstanding and separation.  They meet up later in life as adults, each with a boyfriend and girlfriend which obviously do not suit them.  After all, the two are meant for each other as the rest of the film will prove.  In the 16 years since, they have grown up in vastly different circumstances: Sasha (Ali Wong), is a celebrity chef while Marcus (Randall Park) is still living in his childhood bedroom and working for his father’s air conditioning service, his life largely frozen since his mother’s premature death.  Sasha and Marcus reconnect when Sasha returns to San Francisco to open a restaurant and romantic chemistry from their teenager years remains, but Marcus’s fears and Sasha’s fame and demanding career challenge their relationship.

The film is written by Ali WongRandall Park and Michael Golamcoand.  As it is written by the two stars, the written characters turn out convincing illustrating the great chemistry for a romantic comedy.   Wong is a stand up comedienne,  Park is famous for the TV series ‘Fresh off the Boat’.  Their comedic experience pays off as evident in the film.  The younger actors who play the 12 and 15 year old versions of Marcus and Sasha are also excellent and funny.

The film is directed by Khan who demonstrates a few fresh impressive innovations in her film.  One can be seen in the applauding of the audience during Park’s band performance.  That scene fades out into another with the couple together on a date.  The applause can still be heard in the background serving as approval to the new relationship of the couple.

When everything looks fine when the film has 30 minutes to go, predictability dictates that there will be a major argument between the couple.  This does not mean the film cannot still surprise with a new twist and turn, as the film does.

If you are unconvinced by this review to watch ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE, click on the trailer link below.  The trailer has sufficient bright laugh-out loud parts to get you to watch the movie which is currently playing on Netflix.


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