Review by Brian Lowry, CNN
Time-travelling romances have a bumpy history (just ask HBO), but like Groundhog Day, that doesn’t stop variations on the theme from recurring. Enter “Meet Cute,” an unhelpful generic title for a movie best known for pairing Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson in a concept with barely enough flesh for a “Black Mirror” episode, which is likely declared his arrival via Peacock.
Cuoco’s Sheila approaches Davidson’s Gary at a bar, and the two spend a romantic evening getting to know each other, though their behavior occasionally feels a bit odd. That’s before she explains that she has access to a time machine (which for some reason is at her local nail salon) that allows her to always go back a day and relive and revisit her first date .
While Gary is understandably skeptical, he’s also irresistibly attracted to her. “We just work,” Sheila tells him, a theory she can keep testing by changing the way they interact in small and not-so-small ways and seeing it evolve.
The formula clearly has potential, which explains why writers keep coming back to it, from 50 First Dates to the recent Andy Samberg film Palm Springs. But the concept is also fraught with dangers, starting with the slightly gruesome aspect as the scenario drags on (even in a 90-minute film) and the question of how to creatively break the circle, a challenge , which “ Meet Cute” (director: Alex Lehmann based on Noga Pnueli’s screenplay) cannot quite overcome.
“It’s okay if things get messy sometimes,” Sheila says to Gary, a phrase that has some meaning in the larger story but doesn’t necessarily apply to this type of exercise all that well.
After “The Big Bang Theory” with a breakout vehicle (at least for one season) in “The Flight Attendant,” Cuoco has proven her prowess as a producer and star, and she really is at the center of the story. As for Davidson, he hasn’t found any shortage of film roles, but the Saturday Night Live graduate seems trapped in a different kind of loop, one that still keeps him more committed to his off-screen relationships than his professional endeavors celebrates.
Honestly, the marquee value of their teaming alone probably represents a modest win for NBC’s streaming service. That being said, it would have been nice if “Meet Cute” did a little more to capitalize on the attention, though there seems to be no going back in time to fix this.
Meet Cute premieres September 21 on Peacock.
The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.