Always Be My Maybe will undoubtedly be your new romantic comedy obsession.
The Ali Wong-led Netflix movie has social media buzzing with a refreshing spin on the classic “childhood friends turned lovers” plot. In classic fashion, Sasha (Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) are next door neighbors who spend pretty much all their free time together.
Spoilers ahead. But, it’s more than simply growing up and moving on that pushes the pair apart. Sasha and Marcus have a nasty falling out after sleeping together in the wake of his mom’s (who was a culinary and life mentor to Sasha) death.
Sasha goes on to be a Los Angeles culinary celebrity (and wearer of incredible glasses) while Randall stays stuck in place, working for his dad’s HVAC company and playing with a talented band that honestly deserved a bigger audience. She returns to her native San Francisco to open a new restaurant and that’s when things get good.
It’s certainly not the first time that a rom com has featured an uber-successful woman falling in love with a man whose salary is far less, but Always Be My Maybe throws in some deeper commentary into the picture.
Sasha’s core wound is feeling unimportant to her working parents and, coupled with Marcus’ nasty proclamation that his mother was not hers, this resulted in her filling the void left in her heart with terrible relationships. She had everything she could want in her career and achieved highly-visible commercial success in an overwhelmingly White arena, yet she just wanted someone to really see her authentic self.
Randall was great at bringing out the best in her, however he couldn’t seem to do the same for himself. He was essentially frozen in place after losing his mother and allowed fear to rule over every aspect of his life, foregoing college and refusing to live his best life with Sasha, even after they got a second chance.
Sasha was openly supportive of Randall’s dreams and wanted him to reach his peak, but he initially wouldn’t allow himself to step out of his comfort zone to accept her world or change his life.
I loved how the story allowed Sasha to stand steadfast in not giving up her life just to make a man comfortable and how she openly embraced and encouraged Randall to be himself. Randall came to the realization that he was the only thing that was holding himself back from fully achieving his goals and he also pushed Sasha to remember her cooking roots.
Honestly, anyone who doesn’t feel all the feels when he discovers that her new restaurant is named after his mom and features her recipes is a robot.
I am not a person of Asian descent so I cannot speak fully to the impact of what it means to have this type of representation, but I do know that I love seeing any story told from a different perspective. Wong and Park have incredibly chemistry both as a romantic duo as well as wise-cracking friends and their supporting cast is equally engaging.
Always Be My Maybe has sharp and generally smart wit (there were a few cringy jokes) and gave viewers sexy in its own unique way. Far too many portrayals of Asian parents paint them as emotionally distant and strict, but the Always Be My Maybe parents were simply loving and hardworking parents who were doing the best they could for their children.
Sasha’s parents admitted that they were not as physically available when she was a child and they did all they could to atone for their shortcomings, including supporting her restaurant as patrons. Soooo sweet!
And, Marcus’ dad gave him the space to be himself and fully understood how his wife’s death had an emotional impact on his son.
Oh, let’s not forget that Keanu Reeves portrayed a (hopefully) amped up version of Keanu Reeves in this film. His impeccably funny double date war with Marcus was easily one of the funniest parts of the movie. Everyone loves a guy who can poke fun at himself and Reeves did not disappoint.
And, the movie ended with the perfect song – Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” – which undoubtedly had a tiny bit (or a ton) of influence on this storyline because those lyrics fit 100%.
Hopefully, this film will lead to more romantic comedies along the same vein with diverse casts and brilliant twist on the typical love story.