Meet Cute (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – What would you do if you could travel to your loved ones’ past, heal their traumas, fix their problems, and change them into the perfect partner?

My Take – Ever since Groundhog Day (1993) perfected the concept of individuals stuck in a time loop, filmmakers to a varying effect have been trying to mine their own version of the cocktail to bring to the table. Some to full effect, while others just simply retreat to oblivion. The latter was also the case of the Andy Samberg starrer Palm Springs (2020), which redefined the romantic comedy genre by creatively using its scenario to excellent results.

Initially this seemed to be the case of this latest Peacock exclusive premiere too, which seemed to mix a manic time travel adventure with a playful romantic comedy, that is until director Alex Lehmann and screenwriter Noga Pnueli take it a step further by adding a dead-serious commentary on the messiness of romantic relationships, all while scrapping by issues of mental illness. Sending the film far away from being the advertised rom-com.

And while the setup is obviously full of potential, it sadly isn’t able to entirely pull off its unique tonal gambit. Resulting in a film that isn’t memorably absurd so much as it is mildly frustrating. While no doubt, thanks to its two terrific performers, Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, the film is constantly engaging and endearing for 89 minutes, however, one can’t help but feel that there was a lot of potential left on the table.

The story follows Gary (Pete Davidson) and Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) who meet at a bar, and it’s basically love at first sight. She notices him because he’s the only one in the bar not watching the Big Game. He notices her because she’s funny, witty, unexpected, and a little kooky; their droll senses of humor bounce off each other like electricity. As their night goes from bar to restaurant to slow walks and talks along the riverside, it seems like their moment-one spark is too good to be true.

Well, that might be because it is, as it doesn’t take long for Sheila to fess up to the fact that their spontaneous meeting wasn’t so spontaneous, as she’s lived this night dozens of times before, thanks to a time traveling tanning machine in a nearby nail salon that June (Deborah S. Craig), the manager, lets her use and has been zapping her back 24 hours in time again and again to re-feel the spark. But the more Sheila tries, the further she keeps getting from the perfect man she wanted. As Sheila can only handle one night with Gary.

We watch the various iterations unfold, as it turns out she terrified of what the next day might bring and ends every evening with a “see you tomorrow” that feels increasingly poisoned. Sheila is so driven to keep these nights with Gary going that she lands on an even crazier ideas. Eventually, even Gary, who gets dropped into this scenario fresh each evening, can’t handle it.

In this high-concept world, the repetition of relationships still wears, recycled stories lose their pop, and emotion often doesn’t quite match intellect. Here, director Lehmann aims to be a credible romance and a clever attempt at deconstructing just what it is we love about love, both on the big screen and in the mess of our everyday lives. However, he fails to bring the film’s disparate emotional and comedic elements together, and the film ultimately lacks the tonal control that it needs to be able to discuss serious topics like depression in the same sequence that it throws out.

Even the sequence which sees Sheila telling Gary about how her own fear of disappointment has prevented her from truly exploring a relationship with him, and the arguments that ensue following that admission feel overwritten. The film’s breakneck pace also prevents it from investigating Sheila’s backstory as deeply as it should, which makes many of the very real issues she’s struggling with feel more like thinly sketched affectations than genuine emotional problems.

The same can be said for much of the film, which frequently introduces several compelling ideas only to end up abandoning them in favor of telling a safer and more predictable story. There’s an intriguing thread somewhere in here about unrequited obsession that has more do to with insecurities than actual love, about how depression can lead to intense, sticky fixations that are difficult to surrender. This is not a smart enough film to do that, nor one as edgy as it seems to think it is.

Nevertheless, Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson make for an, magnetic pairing and the two actors are up to the challenge of playing different shades within their respective characters. I have been a big fan of Cuoco, since her The Big Bang Theory days, and thoroughly enjoy the traits she brings to Emmy nominated, The Flight Attendant. To her credit, she takes full advantage of her character’s high-strung energy by chewing through every line she’s given.

While Pete Davidson continues his impressive stint of playing his typically low-key charming self. In a smaller role, Deborah S. Craig is hilarious as the deadpan nail salon manager. On the whole, ‘Meet Cute’ is a decent offbeat rom com that doesn’t fully realize its potential and magnetic pairing.

Directed –

Starring – Kaley Cuoco, Pete Davidson, Deborah S. Craig

Rated – TVMA

Run Time – 89 minutes

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