A film like Meet Cute, a time-travel rom-com now streaming on Peacock and starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, can’t include expectations. Ask one individual if this premise and forged sound good to them, they usually may take a look at you such as you simply crawled up out of a sewer drain and began transferring towards them at an uncomfortably quick tempo. Ask one other, and also you’ll get an eyebrow elevate of anticipation: “Hm! That sounds enjoyable. I really like Kaley in The Flight Attendant. Is Pete nonetheless relationship Kim Kardashian?”
In the end, not realizing what or how one can really feel in regards to the film works in its favor. Like its two leads, Meet Cute has fixed frenetic power pulsing by it that makes it troublesome to nail down. However whereas it spends its runtime vibrating on such a uniquely excessive frequency, the movie nonetheless feels virtually bizarrely acquainted. Identical to its time-traveling characters, I used to be positive that I had already seen this film earlier than.
Meet Cute is the sort of movie that has all however fallen by the wayside, because the house for mid-budget movies between big-budget studio flicks and shoestring indie productions has grown tighter. The world of moviemaking was as soon as much less polarized. Now, issues can solely fall into one in all two classes: indie with buzz or franchise with IP attraction.
A part of that is that there was as soon as a spot that thrived on these movies that landed someplace within the center: your native video rental retailer. With out the presence of a Blockbuster Video—someplace you could possibly tangibly hunt for one thing stunning—mid-budget movies that land biggish stars find yourself relegated to streaming, misplaced within the folds of the digital realm. Meet Cute doesn’t have costly results or a scrappy DIY manufacturing historical past, each of which could appeal to audiences. As an alternative, this film has to rely solely on its wacky premise.
What Meet Cute lacks in marketability, nonetheless, it makes up for in allure and an ardent need to say one thing affecting—even when it takes an unconventional route by house and time to get there.
Forging this path by the cosmos is Sheila (Cuoco), a seemingly optimistic go-getter. She’s bought such a agency grasp of management over the whole lot round her that she’s managed to finagle her seventh date in a row together with her dream man, Gary (Davidson). However Sheila and Gary haven’t been on a consecutive week of dates collectively as a result of they’re match. It’s as a result of Sheila has been venturing 24 hours into the previous each time their date ends, with a purpose to relive every lovable second.
Night time after evening, the identical sequence of occasions happen. Sheila picks up Gary at a bar, the place he’s shocked to study that she already is aware of his drink order. After some mild dialog, Sheila confesses to being a time traveler. Gary thinks it’s a joke, a solution to endear herself to him and break the ice. In spite of everything, Sheila claims that her “time machine” is a tanning mattress within the again room of her go-to nail salon. However by the point they’ve had a stunning dinner on the identical neon-hued Indian restaurant, gone thrifting and dancing, and ended up on the Staten Island ferry, Sheila reasserts that she will be able to soar by time, even when Gary doesn’t purchase it.
Gary, who now believes he’s in over his head after spending a whole evening with a good looking blonde with a few screws unfastened, politely ends the date. “That’s OK, I’ll see you tomorrow!” Sheila says, waving him off. She then heads again to the nail salon, climbs into the tanning mattress, and does it another time.
However after racking up extra dates collectively, the magic of their meet-cute is beginning to put on off for Sheila. Gary says all of the issues she knew he would, and introducing herself to him time and time once more solely underlines his issue with opening up. Determined to recapture the excessive of their first three-dozen dates, Sheila makes an attempt to slowly discover and repair Gary’s traumas. It’s by this plan that we understand that Sheila might not be the mover and shaker she seems to be. Her need to journey to the previous is definitely propelled by one thing a lot darker than a crush.
One may suppose that watching Cuoco and Davidson do the horny New York model of Groundhog Day and over once more would change into monotonous. Meet Cute will surely really feel far more redundant, although, if it weren’t buoyed by such a magnetic pairing of stars. Cuoco, who’s on a sizzling streak following two unbelievable seasons of The Flight Attendant (and a few legendary Smirnoff adverts), is the proper alternative for a personality like Sheila. She’s peppy to the purpose of mania, however Cuoco understands how one can dial Sheila again when she verges on annoying.
Cuoco’s liveliness finds a comfortable touchdown in Pete Davidson’s infinite nicely of allure. As Gary, Davidson exudes the sort of nuanced, naive modesty that made him so likable in his breakout years however has light from public reminiscence now that he’s change into a tabloid fixture. However he’s not simply getting by on charisma: Davidson is a legitimately unbelievable actor, who’s so pure in entrance of the digicam that he makes each scene really feel like the primary and solely take. Meet Cute is lastly a correct car for these of us who’ve battled the false narrative that Davidson is neither personable nor horny. Right here, it’s simple to see why Sheila can’t cease going again to him for yet another first date.
If solely the logistics of the time journey hook have been as considerate because the movie’s casting. There are a number of factors the place new caveats and explanations for a way issues occur are sprinkled into the script, conveyed through a mound of dialogue. It might be a intelligent trick if these moments have been meant to get viewers to gloss over plot holes. However they don’t work as nicely when the movie’s total story hinges on understanding how Sheila can get from one cut-off date to a different. So far as time-travel motion pictures go, Meet Cute is much less About Time and extra The Lake Home. And that’s not a praise.
Although the script muddies its sci-fi explainers, it’s bought loads of resonant emotional beats. As soon as the film will get deeper into the layers of Sheila’s motivation and Gary’s difficult previous, it reveals a pertinent underside to their connection that just about each viewer can relate to. Gary and Sheila share an lack of ability to deal with the messes that they’ve made for themselves, and watching them assist one another put the items of their lives again collectively makes for a surprisingly transferring watch. Particularly for a film that’s basically Scorching Tub Time Machine 3: Tanning Mattress Takeover.
Seeing Cuoco and Davidson act reverse each other in an odd, mid-budget sci-fi/rom com like this made me nostalgic for an period that has lengthy been misplaced to expertise. Meet Cute would match snugly on the rack of $2 leases, amidst any one in all Brittany Murphy’s many gems or Wong Kar-wai’s late-period, vibey romance My Blueberry Nights. Certain, the film could basically be the 90-minute model of “I May Repair Him” with a while journey thrown in, however that sort of wackadoo, swing-for-the-fences ambition is one thing you simply don’t get a lot of anymore. Like time journey, Meet Cute is one thing you need to see to imagine. Whether or not or not you’ll be glad you probably did, you received’t know till you’re on the opposite aspect.