|09 february 2024
Upgraded, directed by Carlson Young and starring Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux, embarks on a transatlantic romantic escapade that, despite a promising premise, falls into the beaten path of romantic comedies. The film attempts to inject freshness by exploring the intersection of class dynamics and romance, but ultimately struggles to rise above the conventions of romantic comedies.
The story begins with Ana (Camila Mendes), an overworked and underappreciated assistant at the prestigious Erwin art gallery, where she dreams of climbing the ladder to open her own art gallery. Ana's mundane life takes an unexpected turn when her demanding boss, Claire (Marisa Tomei), orders a last-minute trip to London. The airport becomes the scene of a plot twist: Ana, bullied by Claire's assistants, finds herself upgraded to first class, paving the way for mistaken identity and a budding romance with the wealthy William (Archie Renaux).
The first act of Upgraded is enjoyable, with Mendes portraying Ana as a charming and sympathetic protagonist. The film succeeds in capturing the dynamics of the art world, presenting an appealing backdrop for Ana's journey. The airport setting serves as a metaphor for social divisions, deftly highlighting the disparities between economic classes, a theme reminiscent of classic romance narratives.
However, as the film progresses, the promising premise begins to lose momentum. The transition from airport to more conventional romantic comedy seems to depart from the initially unique concept. The story shifts from an intriguing exploration of class consciousness to predictable romantic tropes, losing some of its initial satirical edge.
Although Camila Mendes delivers a commendable performance and Archie Renaux adds charm to the film, the chemistry between the protagonists is somewhat lacking, particularly in the final moments. The screenplay, though initially lively, succumbs to the gravitational pull of clichéd resolutions and conventional plot developments. The film's reliance on tried-and-tested romantic comedy formulas becomes evident, contributing to a sense of predictability that could leave audiences longing for more originality.
The supporting cast, including Marisa Tomei, Lena Olin and Rachel Matthews, bring humor and depth to their roles, contributing to the film's overall charm. The feminist overtones, which emphasize the fact that women support and encourage each other, add a positive layer to the narrative, offering a refreshing perspective on relationships.
Despite its flaws, Upgraded is not without its merits. The exploration of envy, desire and dreams associated with class distinctions, particularly in the context of air travel, offers moments of insightful commentary. The metaphorical significance of the plane as a microcosm of societal stratification adds depth to the story.
Upgraded succeeds in capturing the audience's attention thanks to its premise and engaging characters. However, the film struggles to maintain its unique narrative throughout, resorting to well-worn romantic comedy conventions. While not elevating the genre to new heights, Upgraded offers a sympathetic and occasionally charming experience for fans of light romantic comedies. For Valentine's Day, we'd recommend seeing the romantic comedy Anyone but you again.
Directed by Carlson Young
Written by Christine Lenig, Justin Matthews, Luke Spencer Roberts
Produced by Mike Karz, William Bindley, Lena Roklin, Piers Tempest
Starring Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux, Thomas Kretschmann, Grégory Montel, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei
Cinematography : Mike Stern Sterzynski
Edited by Bruce Green
Music by Isom Innis
Production companies : Amazon MGM Studios, Gulfstream Pictures
Distributed by Amazon Prime Video
Release date : February 9, 2024 (United States, France)
Running time : 104 minutes
Viewed on February 9, 2024 (Prime Video)