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But the way the date ends can be a toss-up, especially when Sheila becomes more and more serious about being from the future, which he initially takes as a flirtatious joke. Sheila gets fixated with this connection, and sometimes she goes through the dates as if she wants to weird him out off the bat, telling him how long she has “known” him, even though it’s their first meeting. This fateful night, repeated with different variations because of some desperation that doesn’t come into genuine form, is the film’s main spectacle.
Director Alex Lehmann has an eye for some opulent NYC dating spots—the two are covered by shimmering lights inside the Bangladeshi restaurant they always end up at—but their two-hander moments walking down the street create a bland intimacy. On a larger scale, “Meet Cute” doesn’t convey enough of the magic that its most intense character becomes addicted to, and despite Lehmann’s quick cuts and some dry humor from the original script by Noga Pnueli, there’s not much total charisma. Their date, however impromptu, just doesn’t have that certain zing of romance to wish we were on it, or had it, or could have it.
Kaley Cuoco’s inner electricity powers much of this entire production, and it’s clear the shortcomings in her character and plot are not from the performance, but the script that gives us a challenging character but treats it too broadly. As she is written, Sheila is supposed to be pushy, electric, desperate, manic—she’s supposed to be too much. She’s also supposed to be a lot of dangerous, given how she has to kill her previous self when she steps back 24 hours to avoid a “Highlander” thing. Cuoco gets this all across well, and the performance is good for what it is. Next to her work in “The Flight Attendant,” one can appreciate how much she’s venturing to wilder, more freewheeling parts.
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