Meet Nice Review: Peacock’s Time Travel Novel Collapses
Meet Nice Review: Peacock’s Time Travel Novel Collapses

Meet Nice Review: Peacock’s Time Travel Novel Collapses

Meet Cute it wants to be a lot of things at once. The film, which premieres exclusively on Peacock this week, is at once a manic time-travel adventure, a playful romantic comedy and a dead-serious commentary on the messiness of romantic relationships. If that sounds like a lot for a low-budget romantic comedy to juggle — and at 89 minutes, no less — that’s because it is. Thanks to the performance given by the main star of the game, however, there are moments when Meet Cute comes close to pulling off his unique tonal gambit.

Unfortunately, the film’s attempts to blend screwball comedy with heartfelt romance often come across as cheesy rather than inspired. Behind the camera, director Alex Lehmann fails to deliver Meet Cutethe emotional and comedic elements disparate together, and the film ultimately lacks the tonal control it needs to be able to discuss serious topics like depression in the same sequence where it throws in, say, a series of gags of slapstick costumes. The resulting film is one that isn’t so much absurdly memorable as it is mildly irritating.

Kaley Cuoco sits next to Pete Davidson in Peacock's Meet Cute.
MKI/Peacock Distribution Services

Meet CuteIts inability to add anything of real value to the romantic comedy genre is made more disappointing by how promising it starts. The film brings a revival, Groundhog Day– twist on its otherwise straightforward rom-com plot and, despite opening with an intentionally clichéd bar encounter between the film’s two leads, Sheila (The flight attendantKaley Cuoco’s) and Gary (Pete Davidson, last seen in the thriller Gen Z Bodies, Bodies, Bodies), Meet Cute he wisely does not waste too much time before throwing the necessary key into his own story.

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In this case, the complicating key Meet CuteHis plot is a tanning bed that allows the user to travel to any point in the past for just 24 hours. The machine is held behind a nail salon owned by the no-nonsense June (Deborah S. Craig), who happens to enter Cuoco’s Sheila’s orbit one fateful day. A brief flashback reveals how June introduced Sheila in her time machine, and it quickly becomes clear from that moment that the first date was open. Meet Cute it wasn’t quite what it seemed. At least, not for Sheila, who quickly and cheerfully tells Gary from the start Meet Cute that he began using June’s time machine to repeatedly relive their first magical encounter.

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Her confession to Gary is one of many moments where Meet Cute uses Sheila’s tendency to overshare and throw caution to the wind to rush her requisite pieces of exposition, but Cuoco, to her credit, makes the most of her character’s strong energy, chewing through every line she’s given . In fact, while it doesn’t take long for Sheila’s manic energy to turn corrupt, Cuoco’s performance gradually proves to be the only thing enjoyable Meet Cute is thinking of.

Deborah S. Craig and Kaley Cuoco watch in a tanning bed in Peacock's Meet Cute.
MKI/Peacock Distribution Services

Opposite Cuoco, Davidson feels misplaced as Gary, the shy and unassuming graphic designer who quickly finds himself swept up in Sheila’s whirlwind of romance. As the other half of the film’s central pair, Davidson manages to match Cuoco’s infectiously absurd energy during Meet Cutethere are more comedic moments on the outside, but he has a harder time selling Gary’s hand of emotional outbursts. The film itself also undercuts one of Gary’s biggest moments by foreshadowing him far too much throughout his first act.

It’s a shame, considering the scene in question had the potential to be one of the few genuine surprises in a film that makes for a more predictable journey than the time travel premise would lead you to believe. Not much, for example, before Meet Cute it forces Sheila to tell Gary about how her own fear of disappointment has kept her from truly exploring a relationship with him, and the arguments that follow that admission feel suffocatingly overwritten.

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The film’s breakneck pace also prevents it from delving into Sheila’s backstory as deeply as it should, making many of the very real issues she struggles with feel more like thinly sketched afflictions than genuine emotional issues. The same can be said about many Meet Cutewhich frequently introduces more compelling ideas and genre subversions only to end up abandoning them in favor of a safer and more predictable story.

The film ultimately evolves in the same way that the date at its center does, which is that it starts out promising enough to quickly become disappointingly repetitive and boring. Not even Cuoco’s charmingly fearless performance, as her fragile lead is strong enough to add a sense of cohesion. Meet Cutethe many half-hearted detours. The movie is, in other words, a date you don’t have to worry about skipping.

Meet Cute premieres Friday, September 23, exclusively on Peacock.

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