Meet Cute needs to be a variety of issues without delay. The movie, which premieres completely on Peacock this week, is concurrently a manic time journey journey, playful romantic comedy, and dead-serious commentary on the messiness of romantic relationships. If that seems like loads for one low-budget rom-com to juggle — and throughout the span of 89 minutes, no much less — that’s as a result of it’s. Because of the efficiency given by its sport lead star, although, there are moments when Meet Cute comes near pulling off its distinctive tonal gambit.
Sadly, the movie’s makes an attempt to mix screwball comedy with open-hearted romanticism typically come throughout as hackneyed reasonably than impressed. Behind the digicam, director Alex Lehmann fails to carry Meet Cute’s disparate emotional and comedic components collectively, and the film in the end lacks the tonal management that it wants to have the ability to focus on critical subjects like despair in the identical sequence that it throws out, say, a collection of slapstick costume gags. The ensuing movie is one which isn’t memorably absurd a lot as it’s mildly irritating.
Meet Cute’s lack of ability so as to add something of actual price to the romantic comedy style is made extra disappointing by how promisingly it begins. The movie brings a refreshing, Groundhog Day-esque twist to its in any other case simple rom-com plot, and regardless of opening with a purposefully clichéd bar encounter between the film’s two leads, Sheila (The Flight Attendant‘s Kaley Cuoco) and Gary (Pete Davidson, final seen within the Gen Z thriller Bodies, Bodies, Bodies), Meet Cute properly doesn’t waste an excessive amount of time earlier than throwing the mandatory wrench into its personal story.
On this case, the wrench that complicates Meet Cute’s plot is a tanning mattress that permits its consumer to journey to any level up to now for simply 24 hours. The machine is saved within the backroom of a nail salon owned by the no-nonsense June (Deborah S. Craig), who simply so occurs to enter into the orbit of Cuoco’s Sheila on one fateful day. A quick flashback reveals how June launched Sheila to her time machine and it rapidly turns into clear from that time on that the primary date that opened Meet Cute wasn’t precisely what it gave the impression to be. Not less than, not for Sheila, who rapidly and cheerfully tells Gary early on in Meet Cute that she’s begun utilizing June’s time machine to repeatedly relive their magical first date.
Her confession to Gary is one in every of many moments by which Meet Cute makes use of Sheila’s tendency to overshare and throw warning to the wind to hurry via its needed items of exposition, however Cuoco, to her credit score, takes full benefit of her character’s high-strung vitality by chewing via each line she’s given. In truth, whereas it doesn’t take lengthy for Sheila’s manic vitality to grow to be grating, Cuoco’s go-for-broke efficiency progressively proves to be the one likable factor that Meet Cute has going for it.
Reverse Cuoco, Davidson feels miscast as Gary, the shy and unassuming graphic designer who rapidly finds himself sucked into Sheila’s whirlpool of romance. As the opposite half of the movie’s central pair, Davidson does handle to match Cuoco’s infectiously absurd vitality throughout Meet Cute’s extra outwardly comedic moments, however he has a more durable time promoting Gary’s handful of emotional outbursts. The movie itself additionally undercuts one in every of Gary’s largest moments by foreshadowing it far too closely all through its first act.
That’s a disgrace, contemplating the scene in query had the potential to be one of many few real surprises in a movie that takes a extra predictable journey than its time journey premise would have you ever consider. It’s not lengthy, for example, earlier than Meet Cute forces Sheila to inform Gary about how her personal worry of disappointment has prevented her from actually exploring a relationship with him, and the arguments that ensue following that admission really feel suffocatingly overwritten.
The movie’s breakneck tempo additionally prevents it from investigating Sheila’s backstory as deeply because it ought to, which makes most of the very actual points she’s scuffling with really feel extra like thinly sketched affectations than real emotional issues. The identical will be mentioned for a lot of Meet Cute, which regularly introduces a number of compelling concepts and style subversions solely to finish up abandoning them in favor of telling a safer and extra predictable story.
The movie in the end evolves in a lot the identical approach that the date on the heart of it does, which is to say that it begins off promisingly sufficient solely to rapidly grow to be disappointingly repetitive and uninteresting. Not even Cuoco’s charmingly fearless efficiency as its fragile lead is powerful sufficient so as to add a way of cohesion to Meet Cute’s quite a few half-hearted detours. The movie is, in different phrases, one date you don’t have to fret about skipping.
Meet Cute premieres Friday, September 23 completely on Peacock.