Review: At Midnight (2023)

At Midnight is a 2023 romantic comedy starring Monica Barbaro (Top Gun: Maverick) and Diego Boneta (Monster Hunter, Die in a Gunfight) that premiered on the Paramount Plus streaming service on February 10th just in time for Valentine’s Day.

At Midnight is a pretty standard rom-com plot. Barbaro plays Sophie Wilder, an actress from a popular fictional superhero film series called the Super Society. Wilder is on top of the world starring in a successful film franchise, dating her costar Adam Clark (played by Workaholics Anders Holm), has great friends in her bestie/assistant Rachel (Catherine Cohen) and manager Chris (Casey Thomas Brown), and seemingly ready and prepared to jump into the next phase of her career as a serious actress away from popcorn fare. Of course, life is what happens while you make plans, and the universe has other plans for Ms. Wilder. She discovers her lothario boyfriend has not changed and is cheating on her. Her next assured project fizzles out. On top of it all, her team is making sure she finished the reshoots and press tour with her cheating ex for the good of her career and the studio interests. In short, Wilder’s world has been turned upside down, and she is struggling with what to do.

Alejandro is a man afraid to grow up and move forward. He is an assistant manager at the hotel that Wilder and her fellow film cast and crew are staying at while finishing the final shoots of the movie. He is an affable man who is loved by all and generously provides loving experiences to female tourists looking for a fun time and good story to tell back home. He is basically cruising through his life despite his skills, education, and experience. As a condition of a potential promotion, Alejandro’s boss puts him in charge of keeping the high profile Hollywood celebrity guests happy for the time they are there. Of course, Alejandro and Sophie cross paths, sparks fly, miscommunications and expectations abound to turn a work fling into a real chance at love and a future.

Regardless of anything else, I genuinely believed the attraction and chemistry between these two.

So, that last bit was a quickened summary of the movie because, frankly, with few exceptions, if you have seen one Romantic Comedy, you have seen them all. And this one is no different. While the feelings and developing relationship between Sophie and Alejandro are believable, thanks mostly to the believable chemistry between Barbaro and Boneta, there is really not much else in this film.

The supporting cast is mildly interesting, but we do not see enough of them to have much investment or payoff for any sort of development from them. The ill fated romance between Sophie and Adam is not a loss as, again, we never really spent any time with them or were at any point given to feel like it was a huge loss for her. Her future career path was only hindered by the relationship as she is not detained from pursuing the jobs she wants. Alejandro is already fully shown to be competent at his job and life displaying skills, charm, intelligence in his chosen field. The only real thing holding him back is fear. And yet, neither are the real catalyst for change or development.

By the film’s end, Sophie is done with Adam and has gotten over her fear of love, which was never really a thing, willing to be with Alejandro despite the uncertainty. Alejandro is finally starting his own hotel away from his easy, cushy job regardless of his fear. Good endings for both but neither helped the other. Usually in these stories, one, or both, party is responsible for inspiring the other or pushing them out of their comfort zone to pursue their passion. It is the classic Third Act Break/Climax, but in this movie, the break up is for completely logical and valid reasons (that are never actually addressed later) and their mutual growth is mainly due to circumstances that just happened without real input or cause from their romantic partner.

In short, At Midnight is a perfectly fine, well made movie with a decent budget, especially compared to similar films in the same genre. But it is also nothing particularly special or noteworthy. It is the film you watch on Valentine’s Day after you come back home from the date to enjoy with the leftover dessert before going to bed.

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