06th Jun2019

‘Always Be My Maybe’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Randall Park, Ali Wong, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi, Lyrics Born, Casey Wilson | Written by Michael Golamco, Randall Park, Ali Wong | Directed by Nahnatchka Khan

always-maybe-poster

Always Be My Maybe, a slight riff on the famous Mariah Carey song, is directed by Nahnatchka Khan and comes from the minds of both Randall Park and Ali Wong. The two performers play former inseparable neighbouring best friends who go their separate ways after an awkward encounter in their teens but are suddenly thrown back together after a calculated encounter decades after. Finding their respective lives going in completely opposite directions. Always Be My Maybe is perhaps the best comedy released this year with fantastic engaging chemistry between the two leads of Ali Wong and Randall Park with superb writing that balances tone brilliantly.

The comedy here from Park and Wong is outstanding. The writing pair along with Michael Golamco infuse some utterly brilliant moments of outlandish comedic nature as well as poignant emotional gravitas. Don’t get me wrong the comedy takes the central emphasis, and while it’s wonderfully intoxicating and fantastic throughout, the emotional poignancy of this film is what surprises the most. It’s delicate and light with weighted pathos and elegance that reaffirms the warmness and affection of the culture surrounding the feature on a whole.

Randall Park in his first leading man romantic role is terrific as Marcus Kim. Park has this sensibility surrounding him that is part quirk and part sentimentality. A perfect recipe. Just two small but integral aspects of his talent which flourishes to showcases weighted range, of what could essentially be a one-note character optioned in any other contemporary feature. Ali Wong continues on her meteoric rise after two enormously successful and critically acclaimed comedy specials on Netflix, and now with Always Be My Maybe, comedienne Wong is three for three in terms of showcasing her fabulously enriching talent. Not only does Wong perform in this feature as Sasha Tran, one of the leading roles. She also writes and produces this feature. She is truly a force to be reckoned with.

The charisma is palpable, and the small subtle nuances of her character are expertly devised. The chemistry both Wong and Park have is rich and warm, therefore remarkably immersive and engaging. Their counters and back and forth exchanges are brutal while also hilariously engulfed in a layer of love and honesty. It’s clear from the first few minutes that the team here are creating something with love and care. It’s raw, yet realistically hyped to a grounded extent. And the Keanu Reeves cameo? It needs to be seen to be believed.

Always Be My Maybe is on Netflix now.

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