Maybe I Do. M, 95 minutes. Two stars.
This isn't a romantic comedy, exactly, but it's too light to be much of a romantic drama. Let's say it's a romantic dramedy.
It focuses on three couples.
Sam (played by William H. Macy) and Grace (Diane Keaton) are at a cinema watching a tragic Swedish movie. Each is alone, but when Grace notices Sam's highly emotional reaction to the movie, she's touched, and they start talking. After the film, they buy a bucket of chicken and some beer and head for a cheap motel, but their connection is emotional and verbal, not physical.
The same night, Howard (Richard Gere) and Monica (Susan Sarandon) are in a more upmarket hotel together, having had a four-month affair. He wants to end things, but she makes vague threats about exposing him.
Finally, Michelle (Emma Roberts) wants to get married but her boyfriend Allen (Australian actor Luke Bracey) is happy with the way things are. At a wedding, he even leaps to catch the bridal bouquet before she can grab it. Not only is he commitmentphobic, he's superstitious, too.
She's not impressed and gives him an ultimatum that, boiled down, amounts to get married or get lost.
If you've guessed there's a common thread running through these stories, you're right, and it's this: Sam is married to Monica and they're Allen's parents, while Howard is Grace's husband and Michelle is their daughter.
And if you've further guessed that at some point, all three couples will come together in a "meet the parents" get-together when everything is revealed and there's lots of soul-searching, right again.
While this sounds spoilery, it doesn't take long for the awkward gathering to happen, and this isn't the kind of movie that's really about surprises in the story.
The characters are what's important here, and what happens to them.
The news that their children are thinking about marriage draws different reactions from their parents and when everyone comes together, the reveal of all the infidelity also brings a variety of responses. And, of course, looking at what's happened to their parents gives the young couple food for thought.
Maybe I Do's writer-director Michael Jacobs adapted his 1977 play Cheaters, and this is his feature directing debut. It shows: this is a dialogue-heavy piece that takes place mostly inside and the cinematography and staging are functional rather than striking.
Having four big stars - well, three and Macy, a superb character actor - as the parents gives their stories more weight, but that's there from the beginning - they have more to deal with, having spent a lot longer in their marriages than their kids have been together.
There's a certain amount of typecasting here. Macy is playing another of the hangdog everyman types he does so well, Gere is charming if a little smarmy, Sarandon is sharp-tongued, and Keaton plays a sweet, slightly flighty woman. These four actors all imbue their characters with a bit more life than the script does.
Jacobs' major credits have been on television - among the shows he created and wrote for are Charles in Charge, Dinosaurs and Boy Meets World - but while there are some laughs and broader moments in Maybe I Do, it isn't quite fair to call it a sitcom. I don 't know what the play, written by the young Jacobs, was like: now, approaching the material from an older person's perspective, it might be quite different.
Jacobs' characters ruminate a lot on life and love and marriage, but while the actors are fun to watch and there's an occasional insight or poignant moment, it all feels pretty lightweight. I wonder what Neil LaBute, or David Mamet, or Woody Allen on a better day, could have made of the material.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.