With San Francisco as its backdrop, Ali Wong and Randall Park’s latest project is so much more than a romantic comedy.
Always Be My Maybe is an enormously refreshing rom-com in a couple of ways that people who have covered its release have talked about a lot. Specifically, it’s an American rom-com (released on Netflix) that features two Asian American characters from a Korean American and Vietnamese American families who have sex, fall in love, break up, date other people and then find each other again. It stars Randall Park, who has spent the last several years on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat but has had a long and varied career in comedy, and Ali Wong, whose career boomed after the release of her comedy specials Baby Cobra and then Hard Knock Wife. Park and Wong have known each other a long time, and they have eager fan excitement to thank (at least in part) for the fact that they decided to actually go ahead with the project.
As romantic comedies have contracted after their post-’90s boom, those featuring leads of color have been, regrettably but predictably, hit especially hard. And while Crazy Rich Asians in 2018 brought welcome representation for Asian American actors in both romance and comedy, it was not really quite a romantic comedy in the traditional sense.
This is one. Straight-up, down-the-middle, glorious romantic comedy for people who really and truly love and miss that kind of movie — and the fact that both leads are Asian American isn’t the only way in which it’s fresh-faced. It’s also noteworthy that Park is 45 and Wong is 37, making them significantly older than rom-com leads often are. (When Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan appeared in When Harry Met Sally…, also a long-relationship film and the one Wong and Park have often cited as inspiration, Crystal was just over 40 and Ryan was in her late 20s.)