REVIEW: “Maybe I Do” (2023)

For some it might come as a surprise, but romantic comedies aren’t just limited to sexy, super attractive young couples. I mean just because people reach a certain age doesn’t mean their relationships lose their richness or are any less complicated. With that being true, there are all kinds of senior stories to tell and senior perspectives to explore. Some movies have tried to fill that hole and missed mightily. The new film “Maybe I do” is what you could call a mild success. It’s a movie that not only represents older couples, but that actually does something interesting within its well-traveled genre.

Led by his experiences from stage, television, and film, writer-director Michael Jacobs steers a star-studded cast in this multi-generational romantic comedy about love, marriage, and all the sticky stuff in between. The ensemble alone is a good draw (especially for anyone above or approaching 50). But there’s also some good humor baked into the film’s undeniably goofy premise. It’s that humor, and Jacobs’ ability to create characters who are slightly more than cartoonish caricatures, that makes the movie work.

Image Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Michelle (Emma Roberts) and Allen (Luke Bracey) seem to be a perfect match. But the young couple have come to a critical point in their relationship. They are very much in love, and they can’t imagine being with anyone else. The problem is Allen loves things just as they are, while Michelle is ready to take the next step. Allen is afraid of losing what they have. Michelle sees marriage as the ultimate sign of commitment and feels it’s what they had been working towards.

After Michelle gives Allen an ultimatum, they each go home to their parents in hopes of sorting things out. And this is where the silliness kicks in. Despite their long and serious relationship (to the point of talking marriage), their parents have never formally met, even though they live in the same city. I say formally because both sets of parents are actually having affairs with each other, completely unaware that their kids are an item. So when Michelle and Allen decide to bring their folks together over dinner to help with their big decision, the film turns into a comedy of errors.

While the setup is undeniably corny, “Maybe I Do” never turns into the overly sentimental mush that many rom-coms do. Much of it has to do with Jacobs’ script. But just as important are the performances. Diane Keaton plays Michelle’s bubbly but lonely mother Grace, while Richard Gere plays her father Howard who shows all the signs of a later-life crisis. Allen’s barracuda of a mother Monica is played by Susan Sarandon, while William H. Macy plays his father Sam, a gentleman and a romantic at heart.

Image Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

The four screen veterans handle the material like aces, navigating some first act cringe to really bring their characters to life. There’s no shortage of good on-screen chemistry between them, and some of the comedic timing is spot-on (mostly from Macy whose can deliver dry humor as good as anybody). And Jacobs does a good job giving each parent their own personality and perspective. It leads to some unexpectedly fun and witty exchanges. Not to mention it’s just plain fun to see Keaton, Gere, Sarandon, and Macy sharing a screen.

“Maybe I Do” doesn’t fully avoid all the rom-com trappings, and you really have no choice but to go with its far-fetched (and often glaringly convenient) scenario. How much mileage you get out of the film may hinge on how willing you are to accept the silliness. Yet there are things to like, from its fun and form-fitting cast to its cynical then surprisingly affirming view of relationships, old and (relatively) new. Best of all, it’s the kind of movie that should appeal and connect with audiences of all ages. And that’s not something you can say about most of today’s romantic comedies. “Maybe I do” hits theaters January 27th.

VERDICT – 3 STARS

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