Within minutes of venturing into the world of overpriced-cuisine hilarity, filled with way-too-pretentious chef’s sprinkling saffron onto glazed prawns, director Nahnatchka Khan takes the viewer into a brilliantly-orchestrated and genuinely funny romp into the world of the uber chef, Sasha Tran, played by Ali Wong.
Sasha is due to marry her high-profile restaurant promoter fiancé Brandon Choi played by Daniel Dae Kim, but Brandon alerts Sasha ‘maybe they should take a little break.’ Thus, the stage for this romantic comedy is set. Bring it on.
As Sasha runs off to create a new restaurant in San Francisco, she comes across her lifelong childhood friend, Marcus Kim, played by Randall Park.
Both actors Ali Wong and Randall Park share a chemistry that was made for a romantic comedy such as Always Be My Maybe. Not a single moment of sarcasm is wasted, not one opportunity to get the upper hand, resulting in gracious laughter on the part of the viewer is lost. This movie is a gem. Of course, the gem is likely a rhinestone that fell out of a pair of stylish cat-eye glasses worn by Sasha.
Sasha, a famous chef Bobby Flay would be proud to open a restaurant with, has considerable affluence in the world of fine-dining, while Marcus, still smokes pot and works for his dad as the latter part of a father-and-son air conditioning installation company. While Sasha goes to her palace of a home driven by a chauffeur, Marcus still has the old clunky Toyota that he and Sasha had slept together in, resulting in an awkward new stage of their relationship about 15 years earlier.
As they get older, and things never got 'not weird," they lose touch but later see each other once again when Sasha comes back to San Francisco.
Considering Marcus is broke and smokes pot every day while Sasha is busy choosing which bourgeois chairs to choose for her fifth or sixth restaurant after shooting yet another magazine cover, the mismatch in social status and being put into unfamiliar situations on the part of once childhood friends, all equates to pure romantic comedy laughter-filled bliss.
Let’s throw into the formula Marcus’ band, which is pretty good actually, even it the career trajectory of Marcus and his band members is a bit off, as evidenced by the members attempting to sell tennis balls as band merchandise.
Sasha and Marcus fight their attractions for each other and eventually venture into one of the best scenes in the movie.
They decide to visit a wildly-overpriced and sensory-heavy themed restaurant involving the sounds of the animal they are about to devour. Marcus is with his new age girlfriend, that is sporting thick dreadlocks and Sasha announces her date yet to arrive, wait for it, its a scruffy-faced Keanu Reeves.
Pure and beautiful chemistry gold.
The movie goes into overdrive with it’s social commentary on the ridiculousness of restaurant and social fares, and continues on in delivering one humor punch after another, leaving you almost breathless.
In the simplest of descriptions, this movie is just damn funny. Like, spit out the drink you just tried to drink funny. These scenes with Ali Wong, Randall Park, Vivian Bang (Marcus’ girlfriend Jenny) and Keanu Reeves are romantic comedy perfection.
The banter and aggression continues to build with a blast of a payoff.
Always Be My Maybe is a film that is simple in the sense that real romance is quirky and filled with weird nuances and all-too-often unfulfilled desires. There is a genuine honesty in this film that is refreshing, and painfully familiar to the losses and gains of one’s bad or good decisions made in haste.
The film is fun and friendly, with a bit of ‘ouch, that rings a bit too true’ thrown into the mix.
All said, who doesn’t love a romantic comedy that is perfectly cast and filled with humor?
Always Be My Maybe is all that.
Netflix description: Childhood friends Sasha and Marcus have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years. But when Sasha, now a celebrity chef in Los Angeles, returns to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant, she runs into her old pal -- a happily complacent musician still living at home and working for his dad. Though the two are reluctant to reconnect, they soon find the old sparks — and maybe some new ones — are there.
Always Be My Maybe was released May 31, and is now available on Netflix