Sunday 17 March 2024

Movie Review: Upgraded (2024)

Genre: Romantic Comedy  
Director: Carlson Young  
Starring: Camila Mendes, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei  
Running Time: 104 minutes  

Synopsis: In New York, Ana (Camila Mendes) is a junior trainee at the Erwins art auction house led by the demanding Claire (Marisa Tomei). On a flight to London, Ana flirts with the dashing William (Archie Renaux), and plays along when he mistakes her for a senior executive. In London she meets William's mother Catherine (Lena Olin), a wealthy widow about to sell an expensive art collection. Ana enjoys a romance with William and races to satisfy Claire's whims, but her lies threaten both her love life and her career.

What Works Well: This bright romantic comedy mixes elements from Working Girl with The Devil Wears Prada, and benefits from the prestige of Marisa Tomei and Lena Olin in key supporting roles. Elsewhere, Camila Mendes sells the premise of the resourceful up-and-comer leveraging an unexpected opportunity to skip a few steps along the corporate ladder, and director Carlson Young almost resists the temptation of polishing London into a dream romantic destination. 

What Does Not Work As Well: All the usual coincidences and misunderstandings required to kick the genre machinery into gear are here, starting with Ana's fortuitous meeting with the son of her employer's most important client, passing through the lovers' big argument, and ending with the requisite tidying up of all loose ends. Archie Renaux struggles in the handsome prince role, and the chemistry between the leads is confined to telemovie levels of blandness.

Conclusion: Romantic banter at 30,000 feet still has on-the-ground consequences.

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