Review by Tatiana Miranda
With the latest rom-com renaissance, it was only a matter of time before a star-studded film in the vein of Love Actually and Valentine's Day would come out. In Maybe I Do, all the classic ensemble rom-com tropes are checked off. Missed connections? Check. Unrealistic coincidences? Check. Infidelity? Check, check, and check. Still, even with all of these typical and sometimes worn-out tropes, Maybe I Do can't help but stand out, most likely due to its unusual approach to the rom-com genre. While the movie is heavily marketed as a rom-com, its themes are more akin to a Noah Baumbach film. Contemplative and heartfelt, Maybe I Do attempts to take itself more seriously than most of its genre contemporaries.
Filled with established stars, such as Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, and William H. Macy, Maybe I Do also marks the on-screen reunion of Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, who starred in the Netflix rom-com Holidate three years prior. Although the two appear to play more minor roles compared to the rest of the cast, it's still a clever casting choice that calls back to other iconic rom-com duos, such as Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Maybe I Do opens with the fated meeting of characters Sam and Grace at a movie theater. Both are clearly lacking companionship, although it is revealed later that both characters are in long-term marriages. Through their late-night conversations filled with contemplation on relationships and happiness, the audience watches as the two come close to having an affair. Interspliced with scenes showcasing Sam and Grace's emotional connection are shots of the seductive Monica as she tries to lure Howard into sleeping with her. Even though Howard is clearly uninterested in her in these scenes, the purely sexual nature of their relationship is evident to the viewer.
After an unfortunate incident at a friend's wedding, young couple Allen and Michelle discuss the future of their relationship. Michelle is more optimistic about the prospect of marriage; meanwhile, Allen believes the change will spoil their current relationship. As they separately discuss their predicament with their parents, it becomes clear that their parents' relationships heavily influence their perspectives. In an attempt to salvage their relationship, Allen and Michelle plan to have dinner with their parents, which of course, doesn't go as planned.
Perhaps Maybe I Do's biggest flaw is its attempt to fit into the rom-com genre, as it is infinitely more philosophical than humorous. Although it's filled with comical and sometimes cheesy scenarios, it is ultimately an interesting look at the way parents impact the way their children perceive and sometimes inadvertently ruin their relationships. Throughout the movie, the older characters question whether infidelity makes them inherently bad people and how they set the path for their children's futures. With some tonal changes, Maybe I Do could have given dramatic directors such as Noah Baumbach a run for their money, but instead, it will likely become one of the more forgettable rom-coms to come out of recent years.
Maybe I Do releases in theaters on January 27.