If you've never heard of the phrase ‘meet cute', then let me enlighten you. Popular in romcoms, it is an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads them to start dating.
It's a cute story you tell friends about how you met. And it is also the title of the 2022 romantic comedy by director Alex Lehmann.
Starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, Meet Cute starts off like a typical romcom and then it takes a turn…
What Is Meet Cute About?
We meet Sheila (Kaley Cuoco), sitting in a bar, gazing at a young man. Encouraged by the bartender Phil, she goes and sits beside him, offers to buy him a drink, and the two hit it off.
The young man is Gary (Pete Davidson), and as the two are chatting, Sheila tells Gary that she's a time traveler from the future. As the date goes on, she clarifies things a little.
It's not that far into the future, just 24 hours, and it's all because of a time machine (which is really a tanning bed) that she discovered in a nail salon. So Gary asks what any normal person would ask – why? Why only go back 24 hours?
The answer is simple. Sheila met Gary 24 hours earlier and was so convinced that it was a perfect night and that they were meant for each other that she decided to go back in time to experience that first date over again.
And over. And over. In fact, this is the seventh night in a row that Sheila has gone back to relive her date with Gary.
Shelia is determined that every date will be as perfect as the first, but things take a turn when time passes, and nothing ever changes.
Because why would it? Gary has no idea what's happening to him night after night and Sheila can't ever change the date enough to ensure they stay together forever.
So what happens when Sheila decides to go back further in time and change young Gary so she can get the outcome she wants?
Meet Cute Official Trailer
Is Meet Cute Worth Watching?
Meet Cute is definitely interesting. It takes that old tired trope of a cute first date and, instead of giving it a straight path to happily ever after, throws a few curve balls in.
The same date on the same night over and over sounds like a crazy concept, but the story moves along because time for Shelia moves along and, with it, her steady mental decline.
The longer the dates go on, the more frustrated she gets until she starts to unravel, ultimately ending back at the same lonely and depressing place she started from before she found the time machine.
All of which, I know, sounds silly. But that's the thing about Meet Cute. It is ridiculously easy to buy into the storyline, and the two leads have such great on-screen chemistry that, other than the whole time travel thing, it could be real life.
The film's great ability is to keep the storyline fresh despite repeating the whole date over multiple times. Each iteration has something different or another twist about Sheila and Gary that genuinely keeps you engaged.
For a rom com it's quirky enough to stand out from the crowd with more realistic characters and a third act that deviates from the usual chirpiness to give a more dramatic ending than expected.
Overall, Meet Cute is a solid romantic comedy, albeit one that has more emotional drama than normal. For comparisons, it's hard not to think of Groundhog Day or Palm Springs – but that's hardly a bad thing!
Undoubtedly Cuoco and Davidson do ALL of the heavy lifting in Meet Cute. In fact, other than June in the nail salon, the bartender and a waiter, there really are no other characters.
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) as Sheila
Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island) as Gary
Deborah S. Craig as June
Kevin Corrigan is Phil the bartender
Rock Kohli is Amit the waiter
Hari Nef is Chai the ice cream vendor