Forty-six years after sharing the screen in the R rated crime drama Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Diane Keaton and Richard Gere have reunited for the PG-13 romantic comedy Maybe I Do (2023).
The two play husband and wife, Howard and Grace. Their cute and quirky daughter Michelle (Emma Roberts) wants to get married to her boyfriend Allen (Luke Bracey), who doesn’t want their relationship to change. He’s supposed to be likable but comes off as dull. His father Sam (William H. Macy) is supposed to be sweet but he’s dismissive to his vivacious wife Monica (Susan Sarandon). Perhaps that’s why she’s been having an affair for the past four months — with Howard!
Howard is also dismissive of Monica when they rendezvous at a posh hotel. Across town, Grace and Sam serendipitously meet at the cinema. Since they’re both alone, they decide to bring a bucket of fried chicken to a sleazy hotel. But Grace can’t get into the mood with a Bible in the room. One would think the bucket of fried chicken would have been the bigger turn off.
The following day, Grace realizes she left her diamond wedding ring at the hotel yet doesn’t seem terribly upset or make any effort to retrieve it. Needless to say, no one in this film acts like a real person.
Despite the fact that their one and only daughter has been living with Allen, Howard and Grace have never officially met his parents. So, an hour into the movie (and presumably years into Michelle and Allen’s relationship), Monica and Sam are invited over for dinner.
At last, the buildup to the hilarity has finally come! But after the mildly amusing reveal that Grace already knows Sam and Howard Biblically knows Monica, not much else happens. The two hosts hardly engage with their four guests all at once. Instead, the characters break off into pairs for melodramatic exchanges. And at no time does Monica prepare or serve dinner!
Maybe I Do is based on the play Cheaters by Michael Jacobs, who penned the script and directed the film. Unlike the excellent period drama Quiz Show (1994), which he produced, this pic feels flat since the opening credits fail to set a tone; it’s visually uninteresting; the mise-en-scène looks phony; and it doesn’t make the most of the veterans in the cast.
Keaton, who won an Academy Award for playing the titular Annie Hall (1977) and received an Oscar nomination for Something’s Gotta Give (2003), knows her way around romantic comedies. Her onscreen chemistry with Woody Allen rings true in Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), Manhattan (1979), and Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993). Gere’s past pairing with Emma Roberts’s aunt Julia in the Garry Marshall rom-coms Pretty Woman (1990) and Runaway Bride (1999) is equally iconic. But here, the two seem trapped in a marriage of overwritten dialogue and underwritten action.
While the screenplay deserves credit for wisely shifting the focus from the young lovers to the two older couples, it lacks real romance and believable comedy. Without those things, Maybe I Do is a definite don’t.