The first day in any “introduction to screenwriting” class has one thing at home worth its salt hammers: Your story won’t connect with the audience if you don’t have a main character. want Anything. Yes, yes, rules are made to be broken, and experimental art is vital to the expansion of any form, but I don’t think meet cuteThat was the goal of the two-handed low-budget rom-com that debuted on Peacock. Instead, it is simply a failure.
Kelly Cuoco and Pete Davidson, two prolific actors who have done amazing things in their careers and will continue to do so, are caught in a loop of first dates in this provocative and perplexing feature from director Alex Lehman. it’s like a prank Groundhog Day either Palm Springs, only this time it is self imposed through time travel. to imagine book of hymnsbut as a When Harry met Sally-inspired sitcoms, then swap the insightful dialogue for the revolving tedium of an endless one-act drama. (and no good, like David Ives Surewhom meet cute That’s a huge debt.)
The production, interrupted by shooting around COVID-19 protocols, tries to bring things to life by using Lower Manhattan locations, but includes “an Indian restaurant!” There is no idea more original than. Or “boat!” it is tiring.
The first time we meet Cuoco’s Sheila, she has an affinity for Davidson’s Gary, eyeing him at the end of a bar. She comes to him, but before they separate to take Yaping to a new location, she tells him she is a time traveler. She’s making cute/wacky faces, so Gary rolls with her for a while. But when she starts to finish her sentences, he gets confused.
Turns out, he’s actually a time traveler. You see, there’s a nail salon with a tanning bed in the back that can send you back 24 hours a day. Fair enough. While this date is the first we see in the audience, it is actually the seventh. She keeps returning the next morning because… well, this part is a little unclear.
Sheila is also a murderer, because every time she goes back to the tanning bed, she finds herself from the new timeline and drives off that version of herself with her car. It makes for a good laugh, but doesn’t really leave a root for this person as the other Kelly Cuoco tries to escape the panic.
The date continues for about a year, and it involves some bullshit with Deborah S. Craig as nail salon manager June, who seems very cynical about this woman coming every day. In fact, Jun is aware of Sheila’s ongoing cycle of visits, and her failure to help Sheela find happiness, but it doesn’t make sense. If Sheila is getting a new Gary every now and then, June must be as clueless as she is. (Also, does Sheila sleep? Unclear.)
Eventually, things begin to head south, as Sheila finds a way to travel even further back in time in an attempt to “fix” the troubling events from Gary’s youth. Her father was never there to play ball with her, so a mysterious uncle (Cuoko in a fake mustache) shows up with a mitt. She leaves as a Russian pizza delivery girl during Gary’s awkward teenage years to rid him of her virginity. He is furious when the newest Gary – whose easy path in life has turned him into a technical douche – learns about this time-warp. In the end he shouts that he cannot do this anymore. Doing what anymore? If you follow the logic of this story it’s all new for him!
Clearly, some audience members (raising hands) hang on to the rules more than others. ryan johnson looper And its dismissal of time travel making sense (“we’ll be here drawing pictures with straws all day”) is great, but you need a modicum of logic to work the hook, and meet cute He just doesn’t have it.
If the visual work was excellent it would have been more forgivable. Although these actors are games, the script is pedestrian. Davidson is his generally low-key attractive self, as seen in Good Enough king of staten island Even better big time teens (streaming on Hulu right now in case you missed it), and hanging out with her and Cuoco in totally crazy mode borders on hottie. But there are no clever moments, just a parade of clichés that you’ve seen in many other indie romances.
Alex Lehmann released another two-hander in 2019, which was far more successful paddleton With Ray Romano and Mark Duplass. This too, mostly just two people talking, but there is a depth and humanity that is absent here. meet cute There’s all the informality of a forgettable low-budget photo—and Kaley Cuoco has been called “all things!” Eye-rolling dialogue like telling – plus a central premise that doesn’t work. Don’t feel bad if you stand it.