Maybe I Do

Review by Rich Cline | 2.5/5

Maybe I Do
dir-scr Michael Jacobs
prd Vincent Newman, Michael Jacobs, Scott Mednick
with Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, William H Macy, Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Dazmann Still, Joshua Jacobs, Azriel Patricia, Michael Kostroff, John Rothman, Natalie Ortega
release US/UK 27.Jan.23
23/US 1h35

keaton gere macy

Is it streaming?

sarandon, roberts and bracey
Adapting his own play, writer-director Michael Jacobs explores relationships with three intertwined affluent couples. But the transition from stage to screen is rather awkward. While maintaining a bright romantic-comedy tone, the story touches on loneliness, security, happiness and the thrill of transgression. Despite the high-octane cast, the set-up feels underpowered and contrived on-screen, leaving the characters circling each other for so long that it becomes difficult to care.
Three couples are at a crossroads in their relationships. Grace (Keaton) meets Sam (Macy) in a cinema and they consider launching an affair, seeking late-in-life happiness. Meanwhile in a hotel room, Howard (Gere) and his mistress Monica (Sarandon) are thinking about ending theirs. And as their youthful romance turns serious, Michelle (Roberts) and boyfriend Allen (Bracey) finally begin discussing marriage during an argument. As these couples come together, each of them realises that they will need to work out how they truly feel and then make a decision about where they want to go next.
As this intertwined romcom turns into a gentle farce, each duo faces their specific conundrum unsure about where they should go next, or indeed what they truly want out of their relationship. The movie's structure makes it fairly clear how the three strands will intersect, so it might have been more interesting to start when that emerges at roughly the half-hour mark. And while there are some good laughs and thought-provoking moments, the film never clicks into gear. And where it's headed is never in doubt.

Even with the sleepy pace, the actors find sparky connections. Each is excellent at delivering an offhanded performance that is easy to identify with, but they're all so strong that they leave the film without a point of view. Roberts and Bracey benefit from younger roles, people looking forward rather than back. This makes their strand the most involving. And Keaton, Gere, Sarandon and Macy are as authentic as always, older people who still have life in them, even if they also have rather a lot of baggage.

The script ripples with knowing observations about how relationships develop into something deeper than the initial attraction, with ideas spiralling in various directions that are carefully set up and played with a bit of an edge. "Till death do us part needed a rewrite after penicillin," notes Monica. So while the story structure is far too tidy, and the dialog feels rather too on-the-nose, there are moments throughout this movie that will touch a nerve for everyone in the audience.

cert 12 themes, language 24.Jan.23

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© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall