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With: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi
Written by: Michael Golamco, Randall Park, Ali Wong
Directed by: Nahnatchka Khan
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, drug use/references, and language
Running Time: 101
Date: 05/31/2019

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Reeves Dropping

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For those that found Crazy Rich Asians to be just a little too pedestrian comes Nahnatchka Khan's Always Be My Maybe, a prickly, hilarious movie that puts plenty of comedy back into the tired old romantic comedy genre.

Co-written by and starring Ali Wong and Randall Park, this Netflix original movie tells the story of Sasha and Marcus; as kids in San Francisco, Sasha spends a great deal of time at Marcus's house, while her parents are away running their store. She learns how to cook Korean food, homestyle, from Marcus's mother. As teens, they have awkward sex one night, argue, and fall out of touch.

Years later, Marcus is living with his widowed father and occasionally playing with his band at neighborhood clubs. (I was unfamiliar with Park's hip-hop style, which is most unusual, amazingly catchy, and silly!) Meanwhile, Sasha has become a huge success as a celebrity chef. She comes back to town to open a new restaurant, and all the old feelings come tumbling back.

It's fairly familiar territory, which entails waiting for the two to realize that they're perfect for one another, and to finally express their feelings before it's too late, but Always Be My Maybe makes the wait worthwhile. Both leads are very funny, and their styles compliment one another; Park is laid-back and Wong is more frantic, but not in ridiculously movie-ish way. All the interactions and plot movements feel genuine, and emotionally logical.

Daniel Dae Kim co-stars as Sasha's fiancee, and Vivian Bang is Marcus's kooky, dreadlocked girlfriend Jenny, but the movie's real bonus is Keanu Reeves in a hysterical supporting role that launched a thousand internet memes. Playwright Michael Golamco also worked on the screenplay.

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