An amusing or charming first encounter this is not. Well, it is by definition of the events in Meet Cute, a cute meeting. But it is neither amusing nor charming and Alexandre Lehmann, the reliable hand behind the camera, should have known that. His work on the moving Paddleton is looking more like a fluke that relied on Ray Romano and Mark Duplass than anything else. Meet Cute makes the same gamble. Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, the firm hands of American television, given their big break on the big screen in a feature that should rely on their unique and comedic charms. But for the disgruntled many who found passive appearances on SNL and the tape wrapped around the abominable The Big Bang Theory, those charms may not do much at all.
They do nothing. In fact, Meet Cute is so keen to display why this pairing would work for the audience that it forgets to add the sharp and essential reasons it could. Thoroughly repetitive work comes through and although Lehmann has an interesting angle, he grinds it down into a messy paste before the hour mark. Davidson and Cuoco present an inevitably tragic past that either party can dip into and fix for the other. Does a perfect partner exist? Meet Cute has a lovely intention to it but misses the whole part of feeling human and expressing love for those with trouble behind them. Meet Cute brings Sheila and Gary together, but at what cost?
Cucoco and Davidson have charm expectedly oozing from them, independently that is. Together they make for a pairing that cannot break from the troubled focus of the script and style. They do make the meet cute believable but the script, which relies on tired gags and pop culture references, is a difficult time. It gets pretty rough and never too rowdy, most of it focusing on the expectation that a perfect past leads to a perfect future. Nothing of the sort, but Meet Cute is gunning for that anyway with some flat direction, glitzy, post-modern bars and New York appeal. It’s all there for the taking but Lehmann, whose direction is tightly wound around the usual humdrum camera angles that come from the romantic comedy, is expecting great things to come out of almost nothing. Inventive an idea it may be, it is admirable the cast thoroughly believes they can deconstruct what they are still following to the letter.
Meet Cute is trying, at least that much is etched throughout. Its presentation of the past and using Cucoco as a chloroform-wielding maniac with a desire to change the past of a man she may or may not have just met, is a wilder angle. Irreverent in premise, safe in style. Those two lines should never cross yet Meet Cute has to, for if it does not then its cutesy angle and thoughts on how a perfect relationship could go are never going to be married. Still, Kevin Corrigan gets to play a bartender. There are some silver linings that are never to be expected. Meet Cute shows it has some connection to the life-changing momentum of meeting someone new, but for them to change the past is impossible, yet Lehmann appears to believe in it thoroughly, admirably, and blindly.