Eater alert! We never intend to spoil anything, so here’s your warning that this segment reveals details and plot points for “Meet Cute” (now streaming on Peacock).
“Meet Cute” is not your typical yours Matthew McConaughey is a romantic comedy. And that’s not a knock on the film’s (new single) lead Pete Davidson. But as a lover of the genre (pun intended), the question I had while watching the film was not my usual one. Where is my soul mate? but Who would I be without my trauma?
The title of the movie is a play on the first cross paths of the main character of Aardhya Path. But in the film, Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) and Gary (Davidson) relive their acquaintance — one of those surprise encounters that goes from drinks to dinner to dessert to a stroll through a beautiful city (in this case New York) — over and over again because the magic of their meeting is a desperate one. Saves Sheela from committing suicide.
“You saved me,” Sheila tells Gary in a heartbreaking moment. “This whole night saved me. I am extremely terrified. Gary, that might be the only thing that makes me happy.”
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Thanks to a tanning-bed time machine (similar to last month’s Diane Keaton comedy “Mac & Rita”) that hopes to travel 24-hours from the past, Sheila can meet Gary again and again.
Eventually the repetition dulls the excitement for Sheila and exacerbates Gary’s behavior, which she sees as a flaw. Sheila realizes that she can fix Gary by revisiting his past and replacing traumatic moments with more positive experiences.
But her interference infuriates Gary. Likewise, when Sheila offers to go back in time to ease the tension between June (Deborah S. Craig), the manicurist who told her about the tanning-bed time machine, and June’s parents, June protests.
“If I didn’t have these occasional moments of complete and utter worthlessness, I wouldn’t have this sparkling sense of humor,” June tells Sheila. “If you erase the pain, you erase the person.”
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Pretty deep for a rom-com. Most don’t make me think about the soul of my being. Who would I be without my trauma?
If only I hadn’t been teased for my weight as a child and called “Penguin” and “Hooper Jr.” (Yes, like Burger King hamburgers), would I have developed any sense of humor or personality at all? If my dad’s MS hadn’t confined him to a recliner, would I be so grateful to be able to walk outside and look up at a bright moon whenever I want? If I didn’t die in the most embarrassing way possible (from a highly infected cyst on my vulva) would I be less grateful to just be alive? I’m not talking about everyone who has experienced trauma there is Be thankful for that. This is not my place, and I admit that there is far more serious trauma here than I have ever experienced. I’m just saying the film raises a very interesting question, which the stars also pondered.
During Davidson’s appearance in July on Kevin Hart’s “Heart to Heart” Peacock interview series, the “SNL” alum admitted that their upbringings likely pushed them both into comedy.
“If everything was hopeless at home, Kevin, you wouldn’t be here. I tell my friends all the time,” said Davidson, who was 7 years old when he lost his father, firefighter Scott Davidson, on Sept. 11. “I think, ‘If I would have had a better childhood, I would probably have been a construction worker on Staten Island and the happiest person.’ But that weird (stuff) it does to you is what made me love comedy.”
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When I chatted with Cuoco this spring, she reveled in experiencing life’s challenges and disappointments before hooking up with fellow actor Tom Pelfrey (“Ozark”), whom she described as “the love of my life.”
“I don’t even look at him and say, ‘Where have you been all your life? Why haven’t I met you before?’ Cuoco said. “I don’t want that, and neither does he because I’ve had to go through a lot of (stuff) and really look at myself in the mirror and not deal with the things that I’ve (randomly) done in my last 10 years.
“In the last nine months, I’ve done a complete 180,” he said. “I don’t think this relationship would be what it is if I didn’t go through all of this.”
Not everyone will like “Meet Cute” because it doesn’t stick to the usual rom-com formula, but as the film repeats multiple times, “it’s okay to be a little messy sometimes.” This is true in life and in movies.
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