Stand aside, Point Break and The Matrix — Keanu Reeves as Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe is the role he should really be remembered for.
Always Be My Maybe is a new Netflix film that comes from first-time feature director Nahnatchka Khan and stars Ali Wong, Randall Park (both of whom co-wrote the movie alongside Grim writer Michael Golamco) and, yes, Keanu Reeves.
We’ll get to Reeves soon, don’t you worry.
Always Be My Maybe revolves around two former best friends and neighbors, Sasha (Wong) and Marcus (Park), who have quickly grown apart since high school.
For as long as the two of them can remember, people have always been talking about how Sasha and Marcus will likely wind up together someday. Neither of them really paid those comments much attention, at the time — they were either too young to understand what love really is or they didn’t care what people were saying at them — but even they couldn’t deny how close they were during childhood.
For a brief stint, they actually were together, too. Granted, it was a one-time hook-up in the back of a car that occurred when they were both in a weird emotion place as it happened shortly after Marcus’ mother died, but that still counts, right?
It doesn’t last. Sixteen years go by and the two never so much as cross paths as their elves begin to head in different directions.
Marcus decides that he’s more or less perfectly comfortable with the life he’s always lived. He stays in the same block — same house, even — and joins his father, Harry (James Saito), in his heating and cooling business. Even Marcus’ band, Hello Peril, remains resistance to change as they repeatedly headline for the same 20 people in the old, musty bar they’ve been performing at for the past decade instead of searching for a new gig.
Sasha, meanwhile, decided she had enough of San Francisco and moved out to Los Angeles. There, she threw herself into the high-class culinary industry and went on to become a very successful and recognizable chef. Through that fame, she was able to meet Brandon (Hellboy’s Daniel Dae Kim) — a dreamy celebrity in his own right who eventually proposes to Sasha.
It’s when Sasha is revisiting her old hometown that she runs into Marcus once again. It’s awkward at first, as it always is running into exes, but after the two get to talking they both quickly begin to realize that they’re feelings for one another haven’t completed evaporated.
It might sound like a pretty familiar storyline when it comes to romantic comedies and all, but there’s still that one component I don’t think I’ve stressed enough — guys, this has KEANU REEVES playing KEANU REEVES.
Actually, we’re still not ready to talk about Mr. Reeves just quite yet because there’s a lot of other wonderful things that Always Be My Maybe has to offer.
For starters, the diversity on display can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked. Always Be My Maybe features an almost entirely Asian cast and it comes from a female director of color. The film then joins Crazy, Rich Asians and The Big Sick in being a recent rom-com that’s willing not only to cast non-white actors, but actually — and hopefully, authentically — celebrates those cultures and upbringings different than what is typically portrayed in the west (something that Disney’s Aladdin fails miserably at).
That’s great. Even greater than having the John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum star show up to hang out (we think he’d probably agree).
Always Be My Maybe is also a lot more thought-out than your average romantic comedy. One of the biggest draws to this movie, I think, is the characters. These aren’t you’re standard, one-dimensional lead stars — no, they actually feel like human beings who are going through a series of different emotions throughout this entire thing.
The journey they go on is a refreshing one, too, because it’s not just about them falling back in love. We already know that’s going to happen at some point within the first five minutes of the movie. Rather, it’s about whether they’ll be able to make it work given just how different the two of them have become. A lot of that then falls on the shoulders of Marcus and whether or not he’s willing to change — which, again, just feels so refreshing when you think of Trainwreck, Pretty Woman or all those other films out there that are constantly telling the woman to change for the man’s needs. This is different. This feels right.
All of that is great and should give you more than enough reason to go see Always Be My Maybe. Yet, having said all of that, this is Keanu’s movie the instant he steps on screen (which doesn’t come until around the one-hour mark and only lasts for 15 or so minutes, but still).
Keanu Reeves (who identifies as an actor of color) is playing himself in Always Be My Maybe. When things go sideways with Brandon, Sasha runs rebounds with Keanu after the two run into each other at a club one night. Reeves is, in a word, hysterical. He plays an exaggerated version of himself that’s supposed to be super upper-class and pretentious (despite the fact that everyone says he’s the nicest and most down-to-earth guy in the world), which leads to a series of great gags. I’m not going to spoil or ruin what any of those are, of course, but I can tell you that Reeves made me laugh harder in this movie than any other movie in 2019 has thus far.
Don’t let that take away from everyone else in this movie, though, because both Wong and Park are also fantastic. It’s great to see them actually recognized for their talents, too, as both Wong and Park have often just been cast in comedic-relief roles (Park having very little to do in Ant-Man and the Wasp particularly stands out). They’re still showcasing the comedy here, and they’re both very funny, but there’s more to them this time around.
Always Be My Maybe is a sweet little film that more people will hopefully check out in the coming weeks. It’s not at the level where this is going to end up on my top ten best list of 2019 or anything like that, but it’s a charmer that’s well worth your time.
Check out the trailer for Always Be My Maybe here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the film!
'Always Be My Maybe' - Keanu is part of us indefinitely8