We live in an era of filmmaking where the charm and appeal of the mid-budget rom-com seems to have been lost. Is there any experience that offers a greater sense of security than curling up with a hot drink and a blanket and settling in for two hours of thoroughly predictable, cosy storytelling?
In such an environment where we lack this greatest of comforts, you'd be forgiven for having high hopes at the star studded cast of Maybe I Do and expecting them to put rom-coms back on the map. Unfortunately, the reality could not be further from the truth. Even the likes of Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, William H. Macy, and Emma Roberts cannot breathe life back into this disappointingly deadened screenplay, Michael Jacobs' (director and writer) adaptation of his own 1978 Broadway play Cheaters.
Maybe I Do tracks three couples, Michelle and Allen (Roberts, reunited with her Holidate co-star Luke Bracey), and their respective parents: Howard and Grace (Gere and Keaton), and Sam and Monica (Sarandon and Macy). Tired of her long-term relationship which seems to be stalling, Michelle gives Allen an ultimatum. Twenty-four hours to propose, or she's calling it quits.
Coming to her senses the next day, Michelle speaks with her parents who encourage her to invite Allen and his family to dinner for the first time to see if the families can work through the issue together. But upon meeting, it's clear the couples have crossed paths before. As their secrets unravel, shocking revelations come to light and chaos ensues.
Maybe I Do feels rocky from the start. We are introduced to the six protagonists in the opening scenes, but the editing feels clunky, confusing and entirely without flow. The writing is equally flat, so much so that it's difficult to really feel anything in response to the uncomfortable situations the couples find themselves in. Unfortunately, neither the editing nor the writing get better as the film progresses.
The plotting is poor, with every shocking revelation shoehorned in to totally vapid ends. What should be cute little in-jokes between the couples are forced, perhaps due to the painful lack of chemistry between everyone involved. Add to this the fact that every time anyone is pictured on a bed they are wearing outdoor shoes, and Maybe I Do frankly becomes an aggravating watch.
But perhaps the greatest pitfall of Maybe I Do is its disappointingly conservative view on marriage and love – especially for a film which stars so many Hollywood A-listers known for challenging the expected order of things during the course of their careers.
Maybe I Do's stellar cast is its saving grace, but even they can't pull this film back on to tracks it has come derailed from. With all the ingredients of a great, easy-watching rom-com, it's truly stunning how profoundly it disappoints at every turn. This can only be described as a Sunday afternoon background watch, at best.
Signature Entertainment presents Maybe I Do on Digital Platforms 20th November