‘Meet Cute’ on Peacock Review

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A movie like Meet cute, a time travel romantic comedy currently airing on Peacock and starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, cannot live up to expectations. Ask a person if this premise and casting is right for them, and they might look at you like you’ve just crawled out of a sewer and are starting to head towards them at an uncomfortably fast pace. Ask another, and you’ll get a raised eyebrow of anticipation: “Hm! Sounds fun. I love Kaley in The stewardess. Is Pete still dating Kim Kardashian?

Ultimately, not knowing what or how the movie feels works in its favor. Like its two tracks, Meet cute has a constant frenzied energy running through him, making him hard to pin down. But as it spends its runtime vibrating at such a high frequency, the film still feels eerily familiar. Much like its time-traveling characters, I was sure I’d seen this movie before.

Meet cute is the kind of film that has practically fallen by the wayside, as the space for mid-budget films between big-budget studio films and tight independent productions has narrowed. The movie world used to be less polarized. Now, things can only fall into one of two categories: indie with buzz or franchise with IP appeal.

Part of that is that there was once a place that thrived on those movies that landed somewhere in the middle: your local video rental store. Without the presence of a blockbuster video – somewhere you could concretely look for something surprising – mid-budget movies that land big stars end up being relegated to streaming, lost in the folds of the digital realm. Meet cute doesn’t have expensive effects or a rambling DIY production story, both of which could appeal to audiences. Instead, this movie has to rely solely on its goofy premise.

What Meet cute lack of commercialism, however, it makes up for in charm and a burning desire to say something moving, even if it takes an unconventional path through space and time to get there.

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Forging that path through the cosmos is Sheila (Cuoco), a seemingly optimistic go-getter. She’s so in control of everything around her that she’s managed to set up her seventh date in a row with the man of her dreams, Gary (Davidson). But Sheila and Gary haven’t had a week in a row of dates together because they go so well together. That’s because Sheila has ventured 24 hours into the past every time their date ends, in order to relive every adorable moment.

Night after night, the same series of events takes place. Sheila picks Gary up from a bar, where he is surprised to learn that she already knows his drink order. After a light conversation, Sheila confesses to being a time traveler. Gary thinks it’s a joke, a way to endear himself to him and break the ice. After all, Sheila claims her “time machine” is a tanning bed in the back room of her nail salon. But the moment they had a nice dinner at the same neon-colored Indian restaurant, went to save money and dance, and ended up on the Staten Island ferry, Sheila reaffirms that she can jump back in time, even if Gary doesn’t buy this.

Gary, who now believes he’s in over his head after spending an entire night with a beautiful blonde with a few loose screws, politely ends the date. “It’s okay, I’ll see you tomorrow!” Sheila said, waving him away. She then returns to the nail salon, climbs into the tanning bed, and starts again.

But after racking up more dates together, the magic of their cute encounter begins to fade for Sheila. Gary says all the things she knew he would do, and introducing himself to him time and time again only underscores his difficulty in opening up. Desperate to get back to the top of their three dozen first dates, Sheila tries to find and slowly mend Gary’s trauma. It’s through this shot that we realize that Sheila may not be the driving force she appears to be. Her desire to travel to the past is actually propelled by something much darker than a crush.

You’d think watching Cuoco and Davidson do the sexy New York version of groundhog day and again would become monotonous. Meet cute would certainly feel a lot more redundant, however, if it weren’t backed by such magnetic star pairing. Cuoco, who is on a roll after two fantastic seasons of The stewardess (and some legendary Smirnoff commercials), is the perfect fit for a character like Sheila. She’s energetic to the point of mania, but Cuoco understands how to call Sheila back when she borders on annoyance.

Cuoco’s liveliness finds a soft landing in Pete Davidson’s endless well of charm. As Gary, Davidson exudes the kind of nuanced, naive modesty that made him so likeable in his breakout years, but has faded from public memory now that he’s become a tabloid staple. But he’s not content with his charisma: Davidson is a legitimately fantastic actor, who is so natural on camera that he makes every scene feel like the first and only take. Meet cute is finally an appropriate vehicle for those of us who have fought the false narrative that Davidson is neither lovable nor sexy. Here, it’s easy to see why Sheila can’t help but come back to him for one more first date.

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If only the logistics of time travel were as thoughtful as the film’s casting. There are several points where new caveats and explanations of how things go are sprinkled throughout the script, delivered via a mound of dialogue. It would be a clever trick if these moments were meant to trick viewers into covering up plot holes. But they don’t work as well when the whole story of the movie hinges on understanding how Sheila can go from moment to moment. When it comes to time travel movies, Meet cute is less About time and more The lake house. And that’s not a compliment.

Although the script blurs its sci-fi explanations, it contains many resonant emotional beats. Once the film delves into the layers of Sheila’s motivation and Gary’s complicated past, it reveals a relevant underside of their connection that almost any viewer can relate to. Gary and Sheila share an inability to deal with the damage they’ve created for each other, and seeing them help each other piece together the pieces of their lives makes for a surprisingly moving watch. Especially for a movie basically Hot Tub Time Machine 3: Tanning Bed Takeover.

Seeing Cuoco and Davidson act opposite each other in a weird sci-fi comedy/mid-budget rom like this made me nostalgic for a time that has long been lost to technology. Meet cute would fit perfectly on the $2 rentals rack, amidst one of Brittany Murphy’s many gems or Wong Kar-wai’s vibrant late-period romance My blueberry nights. Sure, the movie might be essentially the 90-minute version of “I Could Fix Him” ​​with time travel, but that kind of wackadoo, swing-for-the-fences ambition is something that you just don’t get much more. like time travel, Meet cute is something you have to see to believe. Whether or not you’re glad you did, you won’t know until you’re on the other side.

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