• Nate Adams

'Meet Cute' review: Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco connect in bizarre 'Groundhog Day' inspired comedy


Courtesy of Peacock

 

What’s the definition of insanity? This was the question spiraling through my head as I watched Alex Lehmann’s latest “Groundhog Day” inspired romantic comedy “Meet Cute.” Starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, “Meet Cute” is a bizarre trip that grows stranger and more obtuse the longer it drags on. A journey of lost love and dozens of second chances, the comedy headliners have chemistry and Noga Pnueli’s screenplay invokes a certain degree of spontaneity, but “Meet Cute” proves that repeating the same thing over and over doesn’t always yield good results.


As is the case for Cuoco’s Shelia who tries hitting on Gary (Davidson) unsuspectingly at a local bar. It seems like any normal interaction, at first, with the usual flirtations and quick introductions before Shelia pivots and relents to Gary that she’s a “time traveler” from 24 hours in the past who has relieved the night dozens, if not, hundreds of times thanks to a local tanning salon’s time traveling machine. (The time traveling mechanics are never given a legit explanation). If I were Gary, I’d probably book it for the nearest Lyft, but being a nice guy, he indulges and the two share a romantic evening that always ends the same way: with him running for the hills as Shelia explains her past trauma and suicidal thoughts. That's a heavy topic for what’s supposed to be a first date.


Davidson and Cuoco are predominantly on screen for the films brisk 90-minutes, playing through these numerous dating simulations, but “Meet Cute” steels the focus from their charm with awkward side quests that involve Sheila going back in time so she can manipulate Gary’s feelings and “change” him for the future. I’m sorry, wasn’t this supposed to be a romantic comedy? Deborah S. Craig is a riot playing June, an employee at the nail salon who oversees Shelia’s “quests” and all I could wonder was why she didn’t use the time traveling machine for herself and go back and snag lottery numbers or something. Still, she’s a hilarious find who brings the movie's sillier elements down to reality.


There are crazier revelations in “Meet Cute” that push this harmless comedy into absurd territory, but the biggest stretch is Shelia’s devotion to everything Gary. She loves this guy obsessively and it almost becomes uncomfortable for the viewer who must watch her flounder consistently until a conclusion is reached that she’s happy with. Remind me: What’s the definition of insanity again?


Grade: D+


MEET CUTE is now streaming on Peacock.