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At Midnight is a likable but limp romantic comedy

At Midnight

Though it has its charms, the Paramount+ original feels a little stale.

At Midnight goes by a formula that really should have worked. Set in some of the most gorgeous spots in Mexico, with two charmingly attractive leads and a premise worthy of a zany 1930s rom-com, At Midnight has everything going for it, but the pieces never quite fit. Writer-director Jonah Feingold’s script borrows from more ambitious romcoms like Jane the Virgin and Notting Hill, with limited success.

Sophie (Monica Barbaro) is a Hollywood actress starring in a superhero franchise along with philandering boyfriend and co-star Adam (Anders Holm). When filming on location in Mexico, Sophie falls for the charms of aspiring hotelier Alejandro (Diego Boneta). A well-rounded cast of side characters (in particular Sophie’s best friend Rachel, played by the delightful Catherine Cohen) do their best to flesh Sophie and Alejandro out, but Feingold’s script never quite manages to make them more than lovely reflections with no inner lives. We learn that Sophie is dissatisfied and feels stuck in her recurring role as a fire-wielding superhero. We learn that Alejandro has a fear of commitment but is still gentleman enough to make morning-after chilaquiles for his conquests. Sophie and Alenjandro, for all the simmering chemistry they have on screen, feel about as real as a stock photo come to life.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t things about At Midnight genuinely worth enjoying. There is a refreshing self-awareness to the script that goes a long way towards softening its flaws, and it often feels like a Hallmark romance where everyone showed up to set hopped up on MDMA. There’s a “just go with it” vibe that, while not making necessarily great cinema, is nonetheless entertaining. It might also be the most terminally online movie since Glass Onion, dropping references to Phoebe Bridgers, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, Martin Scorsese’s dismissal of superhero movies, and Florence Pugh’s cookbook launch party. The pop culture name drops seem to serve as distraction from how little there is to At Midnight, when it might have been best served letting the smaller moments of banter play out on their own. In particular, Rachel’s back-and-forth with Sophie’s beleaguered manager Chris (Casey Thomas Brown) deserved more of a spotlight.

At Midnight
At Midnight (Paramount+)

Setting the film in Playa Mujeres (and briefly in Mexico City) rather than some Studio City backlot gives the plot some grounding, but not enough to fully flesh out Alejandro’s background and ambition. When the third-act conflict inevitably comes for the would-be lovers, it feels sudden enough to leave viewers blindsided and asking What just happened? The enmity between Sophie and Alejandro is so paper-thin it’s practically nonexistent, and quickly waved away with so little effort that the romantic conclusion feels almost laughably unearned. The saving grace is the genuine connection between Barbaro and Boneta, who gaze, flirt, and romance as well as any A-listers.

The real shame is that At Midnight really comes so close to hitting the mark, but languishes comfortably with other almost-great romcoms like Set It Up, Someone Great, and Ibiza. Though hardcore romcom fans will doubtlessly find something to love here, At Midnight is a breezy but ultimately forgettable affair that tidies up a little too well. A little more heart and a lot more messiness would have gone a long way.

At Midnight is now available on Paramount+

At Midnight Trailer:

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CategoriesMovies
Beau North

BEAU NORTH is the author of four books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In her spare time, she is the co-host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast.

  1. Jonah says:

    Thanks for your review!

    I don’t know if you really understood the fairytale tone we were going for, or the hard work that we put into this feature but nice try tho..

    While I spent two years writing and directing a movie that’ll be around entertaining rom com fans for a long time, you sat down and typed “paper-thin” and “forgettable” in two seconds for a review thats already been forgotten.

    Just an observation, no judgment.

  2. Jonah says:

    Seems like this failed to post the first time, so let me be clear:

    I don’t know if you really understood the fairytale tone we were going for, or the hard work that we put into this feature but nice try tho..

    While I spent two years writing and directing a movie that’ll be around entertaining rom com fans for a long time, you sat down and typed “paper-thin” and “forgettable” in two seconds for a review thats already been forgotten.

    Just an observation, no judgment.

    And thats my review of your review.

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