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Diane Keaton and Richard Gere in Wan Rom-Com – The Hollywood Reporter

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Michael Jacobs’ romantic comedy attempts to present a universal portrait of the difficulties faced by couples young and old, those just starting out and those married for many years. So it’s ironic that Maybe I Do, which features such stellar screen veterans as Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and William H. Macy plus relative youngsters Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, has exactly the opposite effect. Instead of relating to the characters onscreen, you marvel at how they all look so good. The dominant message isn’t that all couples have issues, but rather that movie stars age so much better than the rest of us.

Adding to the dissonance is that the film represents reunions for many of the cast members — and that we’ve seen them together before, most of the time in much better films. Gere and Sarandon have played married couples in Shall We Dance and Arbitrage; Keaton and Sarandon appeared in 2013’s The Big Wedding; and Gere and Keaton memorably embodied ‘70s-era sexual licentiousness in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Even Roberts and Bracey have previously co-starred, in Netflix’s romantic comedy Holidate. And, of course, Gere has famously worked a couple of times with Roberts’ aunt, Julia. It all makes you think that instead of the film, we should be watching footage of the cast members having drinks together.

Maybe I Do

The Bottom Line

The vets almost save it.

Release Date: Friday, Jan. 27
Cast: Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, William H. Macy
Director-screenwriter: Michael Jacobs

Rated PG-13,
1 hour 35 minutes

Despite the formidable star wattage and estimable talents on display, however, Maybe I Do fails to overcome its obvious stage origins, feeling all too schematic and talky. The plot feels like it could have been lifted from a French farce from the last century. Thirtysomethings Michelle (Roberts) and Allen (Bracey) find their romance threatened when the latter, in the sort of dumb move that could only happen in bad movies, literally takes a flying leap to prevent Michelle from catching the bridal bouquet at the wedding of their best friends. Because that’s what you do when you want to convey to your significant other that you’re not quite ready to make a commitment.

Meanwhile, their mothers and fathers are all having affairs, of both the sexual and emotional kind. And get this: They’re unwittingly having them with the parents of their children’s lovers! Don’t you hate when that happens? Howard (Gere) and Monica (Sarandon) have been meeting in hotel rooms for months, although he’s already bored with her. And Grace (Keaton) and Sam (Macy) spend a tender evening together talking and eating fried chicken after she spots him sobbing while watching a foreign film in a movie theater and consoles him. (Which only encourages me to cry like a baby the next time I go alone to my local multiplex).

Needless to say, it wouldn’t be a romantic comedy unless all the major characters got together for a group dinner, providing the opportunity for the older performers to practice their double takes and pratfalls as their characters suddenly realize whom they’ve been cheating with. It all leads to lots of alternately serious and joke-laden conversations among both the group and in various one-on-one configurations, which might have played well onstage but here merely comes across as artificial.

The writer-director’s sitcom sensibility (he’s been a creative force on such shows as Boy Meets World, Charles in Charge and My Two Dads, among others) permeates the proceedings, detracting from the script’s occasionally funny one-liners and astute observations about relationships. You certainly have to give him credit for attracting such a stellar cast (which may only reflect the limited starring opportunities afforded to actors of a certain age), who infuse their characterizations with their well-honed comic instincts and killer timing. Macy, for whom the word “droll” might have been invented, nearly steals the film; Sarandon is clearly having a hoot as the va-va-voom randy senior of the group; a nicely underplaying Gere relishes the infrequent opportunity to display his comedic chops; and Keaton does her adorable Keaton thing, which miraculously never lessens with age. Roberts and Bracey, no doubt aware that their main role is to set the farcical plot in motion, fulfill their duties charmingly.

As if to remind us that we’ve seen this sort of thing countless times before, Maybe I Do concludes with the obligatory picturesque montage of Central Park in all its autumnal and wintry glory. After all, the scenery has to look as good as the performers.

Full credits

Production company: Fifth Season, Vincent Newman Entertainment
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Cast: Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, William H. Macy
Director-screenwriter: Michael Jacobs
Producers: Vincent Newman, Michael Jacobs, Scott Mednick
Executive producers: Diane Keaton, Stephanie Heaton-Harris, Jonathan Montpare, Jason Pinardo, Skyler Mednick, Jennifer Semier
Director of photography: Tim Suhrstedt
Production designer: Rick Butler
Editor: Erica Freed Marker
Costume designer: Sarah E. Fleming
Composer: Lesley Barger
Casting: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee

Rated PG-13,
1 hour 35 minutes



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