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HomeMovie Review‘At Midnight’ Evaluate: Monica Barbaro Leads a 100-Minute Tremendous Bowl Advert

‘At Midnight’ Evaluate: Monica Barbaro Leads a 100-Minute Tremendous Bowl Advert

Diego Boneta, Anders Holm, and Whitney Cummings co-star on this head-scratching rom-com that’s extra senseless than it must be.

Effectively, with all tasks that soar excessive, one inevitably crashes again all the way down to Earth.

“High Gun: Maverick” breakout star Monica Barbaro quietly leads the Paramount+ rom-com “At Midnight,” an up to date tackle “Notting Hill” with a splash of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” framework. Sadly, with the movie premiering February 10, audiences can be higher off watching star-studded (and higher filmed) Tremendous Bowl advertisements on loop for 105 minutes.

Barbaro performs Sophie Wilder, a rising actress who leads a superhero franchise along with her boyfriend of 5 years, Adam Clark (Anders Holm, who has made a profession out of taking part in shitty boyfriends). When Sophie catches Adam kissing another person in his trailer, she instantly dumps him and questions how she goes to complete the most recent “Tremendous Society” superhero installment. Manufacturing strikes to Mexico, the place Sophie and her posse, together with finest pal Rachel (Catherine Cohen, doing her finest Rachel Sennott impression) and publicist Chris (Casey Thomas Brown), strive to determine the right way to each pivot Sophie’s profession and mend her damaged coronary heart.

Cue good-looking resort junior supervisor Alejandro (Diego Boneta), who’s infamous for hooking up with resort visitors. Alejandro unprofessionally barges into Sophie’s room proper as she’s about to step into the bathe and their class-transcending meet cute is off to the races. Too dangerous it sputters for the subsequent…wait, all of that was throughout the first 5 minutes of the film?!

Sure, the primary battle between Sophie and Adam takes place inside 120 seconds, together with an truly humorous chilly open and Holm completely delivering the Methodology appearing meta line, “I’m in character so this doesn’t rely” as he’s shirtless aside from his superhero masks when making out with a manufacturing assistant.

At Midnight

“At Midnight”

Paramount Plus

The issue with “At Midnight” isn’t the attractive surroundings or the informal believability of the sparks between Boneta and Barbaro. It’s the manufacturing high quality — largely that there’s none. Episodes of “Bachelor in Paradise” have higher cinematography than this Paramount+ characteristic, making the streamer appear incapable of competently funding something that isn’t produced by Taylor Sheridan.

“I like that we don’t know every others’ names…you,” she says whereas strolling away like a cool lady. The joke minutes later is that Alejandro shouldn’t be the recent shot he carries himself as, and is as a substitute beholden to his strict boss (Maya Zapata), who’s unaware Alejandro is giving visitors personal excursions of his mattress sheets.

Sophie offers herself topless pep talks whereas imagining herself in superhero costume within the mirror and her pal Rachel reminds her that feminism is sweet and woke! Regardless of Sophie having a disaster that she shouldn’t be a star with out her main man beside her offscreen. Sophie and Rachel have the most effective chemistry in the entire movie — but it surely’s clearly from Cohen riffing in character, which comes throughout as determined at occasions.

At Midnight

“At Midnight”

Paramount Plus

Cohen, scorching off of one-episode stints on “Broad Metropolis,” “What We Do within the Shadows,” “Tough Individuals,” and “Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens,” plus two appearances on “Search Get together,” oddly carries the film greater than Whitney Cummings’ PR-focused character, who is simply seen calling in from Los Angeles and has no display time with any of the primary stars.

When Sophie freaks that she wants her ex (and present coworker) Adam to assist her with an audition tape, Alejandro steps in. It’s solely Rachel’s informal remark that Sophie shouldn’t want a person to do something that has a “gee, shucks, you’re proper” eyeroll and shrug from the characters.

However the saddest half is that Sophie does want a person, although she’s a well-known actress. Alejandro wants somebody to encourage him to pursue his culinary skills as a substitute of fetching towels for vacationers. Critically, he spends half the time balancing perfectly-rolled terry cloths whereas fumbling down hallways.

Though Sophie’s skilled profession appears to seek out solidarity post-split, along with her “Tremendous Society” feminine director encouraging her to alter dialogue and blocking on the spot to be a stronger feminine lead, Sophie strongly pursues Alejandro after hours, resulting in enjoyable explorations of Mexico Metropolis and sleepovers on the sand. Sophie’s budding relationship evokes the boldness she wants to completely ditch Adam each romantically and professionally.

“I don’t want you to be ME!” Sophie screams at Adam throughout her climatic revelation; but moments later she’s operating into the arms of Alejandro. Who’s Sophie? We’ll by no means know, and nor do we actually care. Barbaro offers simply sufficient charisma to show she is in actual fact an precise rising star, however “At Midnight” clocked out of all of the doable tropes.

“I’m standing right here in your outside kitchen asking you…do you’ve gotten a late evening menu?” Sophie says to Alejandro in her huge ultimate romantic second, stolen from “Notting Hill.” We get it, Paramount+ has a deep catalogue of movies, like “Notting Hill,” now streaming on the platform!

At Midnight

“At Midnight”

Paramount Plus

The meta rom-com mentions and references to actual life, non-diegetic fellow films isn’t cute. It’s lazy. Watching “At Midnight” reminds audiences that whereas candy at occasions and straightforward to digest, there may be nothing completely different or new right here. Does there should be? Not all the time, however when there are fizzier and higher rom-coms on the market, why waste the time? Barbaro and Boneta are higher than this.

…and “this” is generally the manufacturing high quality. We have to discuss concerning the enhancing and sound mixing for a minute. A mash-up of Pond 5 sounds and Moviehead Productions’ “Birdemic”-level transitions, “At Midnight” appears to be like prefer it might have been edited by Neil Breen if he ever downgraded to iMovie.

Barbaro beforehand advised IndieWire’s Kate Erbland that studying she was forged in “High Gun: Maverick” as one thing different than simply the “love curiosity” was a tear-filled second for her household. It begs the query (or assumption) that “At Midnight” was within the works previous to Barbaro’s flip within the field office-busting “High Gun” sequel. Fortunately Barbaro has lots extra time to indicate off the total vary of her appearing chops sooner or later after it strikes “Midnight.”

It’s nonetheless a disgrace that the references to all the things from “America’s Sweethearts” to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” didn’t rub off within the straight away with writer-director Jonah Feingold, who penned the movie alongside fellow screenwriters Maria Hinojos and Giovanni M. Porta. There was a lot potential with the setting, two leads, and Paramount+ platform, to not point out the slew of cinema historical past to digest.

The tacked on post-modern “Notting Hill” monologue reference learn extra as an apologetic insert, or acknowledgment even, of the dearth of excessive idea chemistry and manufacturing high quality in comparison with a movie that got here out near 25 years in the past, nearly the identical age as its stars. Now that’s one thing to cry over.

Ranking: D+

“At Midnight” is now out there to stream on Paramount+. 

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