Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Always Be My Maybe

Talk about being someone’s funny valentine.

Summary: When they were kids in San Francisco, Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) and Marcus Kim (Randall Park) were best friends, Sasha constantly coming over when her parents left her home alone and Kim’s mother Judy (Susan Park) happy to watch over and cook with her. But when the two turned teen, several things happened in succession: Judy died in an accident, Sasha and Marcus had sex while grieving, and the two have a massive falling out. Sixteen years later, Sasha is a world-famous chef engaged to her manager (Daniel Dae Kim) while Marcus lives and works with his father (James Saito) in home repair. Fate brings them together once again when she comes to San Francisco to open a new restaurant and he gets sent to repair her air conditioning. So for the first time in years, they’re forced to confront the feelings that they’ve buried for so long and see if there’s been something missing in their lives.

Review: Always Be My Maybe is quirky, charming, and just all around excellent. Once again, we have a great romance movie that taps into Asian culture to give the story depth and character, though this take is much more comedic than Crazy Rich Asians. Said comedic strength comes from Randall Park and Ali Wong having amazing chemistry (and great input, seeing as they both have writing credit), so much so that I actually thought they were married in real life like the couple who wrote The Big Sick. Also, the fact that it takes place in San Francisco pleases the Bay Area transplant in me.

The movie beautifully integrates Asian culture into the story as both setting and theme. It’s specifically pointed out that Sasha and Marcus are Vietnamese and Korean respectively (matching Park and Wong’s real life ethnicities) and while this might not seem like a big deal, I’ve noticed that a number of movies and people treat Asian cultures as interchangeable so I certainly appreciate it. But the cultural discussion goes deeper than that — the two actually represent different sides of culinary expression. Sasha tries to promote “elevated” Asian cuisine that’s minimalist, modern, and lends itself to the whole “fusion cuisine” craze. Marcus, on the other hand, is much more into rustic, family style Asian food like dim sum and home cooked meals. This difference of opinion extends into their world views and personalities, making for a great dynamic between the two characters.

But while the cultural aspects deserve applause, there’s one big reason that it’s so good: it’s funny. Like, really funny. Granted, that’s what you get when you put two comedians in a room together, but there’s something more creative at work here. For instance, Marcus belongs to an indie band whose songs (at least one of which Park actually wrote) have creative rhyme schemes approaching Lin-Manuel Miranda levels and some crazy, quirky lyrics. There’s also a ton of awkward lines and character interactions that had me in stitches, including one cameo that the entire Internet has sadly spoiled for me which was nonetheless hilarious. At the very least, it’s got me interested in checking out Ali Wong’s standup on Netflix to see which parts of the dialogue sound most like her.

The movie’s also sweet, like super sweet. It’s always risky to weave a dead mom into a romance story (and can I just say, this is the third Netflix romance I’ve seen where there’s a dead mom?), but having her as a character we see interacting with people onscreen helps establish her as the heart of the movie and her absence as a catalyst for everything that happens. Marcus and Sasha have incredibly believable problems they have to overcome, which makes it even sweeter when they do. And yeah, I can’t lie, the ending got me a little teary-eyed.

So yeah, what more can I say to give this an incredibly high recommendation? People who are looking for a progressive angle will love the diverse cast and forward-thinking story, suckers for romance will eat up how truly sweet it is, fans of comedy will die laughing, and anyone who just wants an enjoyable movie will get more than their money’s worth. It can be counted among one of the great Netflix films and I hope everyone who can watch it does. Do it for Randall. Do it for Ali. Do it for yourselves.

Fun Tidbit: The crew behind this movie is actually a production posse of people who worked on the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. The director, Nahnatchka Khan, created the show, Randall Park stars as the dad of the series, and Ali Wong wrote for the show for the first three seasons.

Goto Home Page
Posted under

Social Widgets powered by