Always Be My Maybe ★★★

There are crowd-pleasing movies that are intended to be big tent-pole releases capable of lighting up the box-office with their hype n hoopla yet fail spectacularly at delivering the expected quality of entertainment. And then there are these simple, small-scale, light-hearted entertainers that gets the same job done at a fraction of that budget yet pack a lot of heart & passion in every frame.

Always Be My Maybe belongs to the latter category of crowd-pleasers. A tenderly crafted rom-com that follows the genre formula down to a tee yet is so joyful in its narration that we don't mind the familiar beats. It plays to its strengths, is aware of its limitations, utilises the available resources well, and benefits from its wonderful cast who render their characters on-screen with honesty.

The story follows a pair of childhood friends who grow up together next-door but lose touch after their brief teenaged fling doesn't end on an amicable note. The plot then jumps 16 years in the span of which they both have cultivated different lifestyles and covers their journey as they bump into each other again and attempt to reconnect & rekindle their friendship & more but are challenged by their differing views on life.

Directed by Nahnatchka Khan, the film takes us through the leading duo's childhood before bringing the story into the present and keeps its light vibe alive n kicking with hilarious gags & clever use of wit throughout its runtime. Co-written by Ali Wong & Randall Park who also play the leading duo, their script is as fresh & fascinating as their heartfelt performances & spot-on chemistry, and seems well-balanced in most aspects if not all.

In all honesty, Always Be My Maybe wasn't even on my radar and I dived into it only for the much talked about Keanu Reeves cameo (which is the highlight of this rom-com) but the film as a whole is way more than that. Also, it's a testament to Reeves' remarkable persona that even while playing a douche version of himself, he comes off as quite likeable in the role and he was truly enjoying his scenes. Promising a fun, pleasant & delightful viewing experience, Always Be My Maybe is a perfect choice if all you want is to sit back, relax & enjoy.

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