MAYBE I DO (2023)
A young couple at a crossroads in their relationship decide to invite their parents to finally meet... but it turns out the parents know each other already....
Adding to the list of raunchy senior comedies, Maybe I Do brings four powerhouse performers together for a safe, overly sentimental romantic comedy. Adapted from director Michael Jacob’s own stage play, Maybe I Do follows a young couple, Michelle (Emma Roberts) and Allen (Luke Bracey), coming to a crossroads in their relationship after a mishap with the flower-throw at a wedding forces them to confront what they really want from each other; as Michelle longs for marriage, while Allen is happy as things are…
Scenes of the pair’s bickering are intercut with two other couples at their own relationship turning points: firstly, there’s feisty Monica (Susan Sarandon) and reserved Howard (Richard Gere) in bed, with her wanting something more sexual than he’s able to give. It’s a refreshing gender role reversal with the woman yearning for something more sexual, while the quieter man being more comfortable with small talk and reading his newspaper. Secondly, there’s Sam (William H. Macy) trying to impress a nervous Grace (Diane Keaton), who don’t seem to know what they want from their evening after booking into a hotel room like nervous teens.
Back to Michelle and Allen, who are by far the most dislikable characters of the movie, as they turn to their respective parents to resolve their issues. Michelle goes home to the aforementioned Grace and Howard; while Allen returns home to feisty Monica and Sam. And suddenly we’re aware the last two couples are swapping spouses.
This romantic comedy reunites Richard Gere and Diane Keaton, who last shared the screen in the crime drama Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977), as well as Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey from Netflix’s Holidate (2020). The latter have significantly less chemistry than the former, as the relationship between Roberts and Bracey’s characters seems entirely healthy without a wedding to seal things. There isn’t enough argument for audiences to care about why marriage is so important to Michelle.
Roberts and Bracey are fortunately sidelined, with their story circling the same point for the duration. It’s clear Maybe I Do offers more of a chance for its paternal co-stars to have fun with their natural chemistry on-screen. Having the two sets of parents, who’ve obviously never met in this context, finally come together to battle out the notion of their children’s future together makes for a fun if unrealistic setup.
Maybe I Do brings nothing new to the rom-com, but it uses its talented cast well. Macy’s Sam brings a slice of his role as Frank Gallagher in TV’s Shameless, pulling off a mix of downtrodden and sarcasm as Sam seeks solitude from his boisterous and argumentative wife Monica. Keaton’s Grace is always anxious around Macy but endlessly optimistic with her husband Howard, with Keaton toning down her natural zaniness to allow Macy to take centre stage with his sardonic quips.
Gere embraces the roguish Howard, who’s looking for excitement outside his marriage but gets a little more than he bargained for with Sarandon’s scenery-chewing Monica. The more we see the four parental units interact, the more the opening scenes make sense, so meeting the couples in this mismatched order turns out to be a very smart move.
Maybe I Do is a movie of moments, addressing big topics with an ease that evokes a few classic Nora Ephron screenplays. In between the bickering parents and bitter kids, the movie addresses the commodity of time as people get older and how things change in importance as we age. The film isn’t without its sentimental notions of love, however. It skims the surface of a range of marital quandaries but never delves deep enough to make an impact. Its underpinning messages are smothered beneath too many layers of fluff in that regard.
Thankfully, with two Academy Award-winners in Keaton (Annie Hall) and Sarandon (Dead Man Walking), combined with Oscar-nommed Macy (Fargo) on fine form, and Richard Gere still exuding the suave charm he did in his 1980s heyday, Maybe I Do is worth watching for their performances alone.
USA | 2022 | 95 MINUTES | 2.00:1 | COLOUR | ENGLISH
writer & director: Michael Jacobs.
starring: Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey & William H. Macy.