When it comes to Netflix’s original programmes, they’re generally a hit-or-miss. Thankfully, Netflix’s latest offering in the form of Asian-centric romantic comedy ‘Always Be My Maybe’, is a hit.
What’s it about?
Released on May 31, Always Be My Maybe stars Ali Wong, a Vietnamese-Chinese-American writer and comedian, and Randall Park, born to Korean immigrant parents, and of Marvel (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Fresh Off The Boat fame. The actors play Sasha Tran and Marcus Kim respectively, a pair of childhood sweethearts that drift apart as their paths in life, and personal views, start to differ.
Sasha is a successful celebrity chef, opening a couple of restaurants around the state, and Marcus is an air-conditioner serviceman plus the leader of a rap band that’s going nowhere. When fate allows the pair to reunite back in their hometown, tensions between the two arise – making the audience wonder if sparks will still fly between them, even after a couple of years.
Of course, it’s not a romantic comedy film without some drama. Marcus is in a relationship with dreadlocked girlfriend Jenny (played by Vivian Bang) that he knows he’s “settled” for. Sasha herself is newly single, having broken off her engagement to restaurateur Brandon Choi (Daniel Dae Kim). Not long after, she, too finds herself in a new relationship – this time with Keanu Reeves.
Yes, Keanu Reeves is playing as himself. Also, fun fact: he’s Chinese-Hawaiian, which fits him right in amongst the Asian-American cast.
Always Be My Maybe is charming, and overall, balances humour against its poignant moments very well. With “family” and “roots” being core themes of the film, it does well to touch on sentimental topics in a way that would hit close to home for most Asians.
What’s more, the film has a clear portrayal of unconventional forms of career paths for Asians, past typical Asian stereotypes (because not everyone can be doctors, or lawyers, or is a Crazy Rich Asian™). Plus, by making Sasha the more successful of the main pair, the film further trumps the traditional style of a “working man and housekeeping woman” that is still observed in certain Asian regions today.
It’s much needed representation in a landscape of films that is so predominantly “white”, where more often than not, Asians can be looked upon as a joke, as disposable, or portrayed in the form of a tired and outdated stereotype. At the same time, the film portrays its characters in a manner that Asians (whether part American or not) would be able to empathise with.
Kudos to the team behind the film, because this one is no “maybe”- if you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you have to give this one a watch!