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February 9, 2024 / Prime Video

Starring: Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux, Thomas Kretschmann, Gregory Montel, Aimee Carrero, Andrew Schulz, Rachel Matthews, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei

Directed By: Carlson Young

Ana (Camila Mendes) is an ambitious intern dreaming of a career in the art world while trying to impress her demanding boss Claire (Marisa Tomei). When she's upgraded to first class on a work trip, she meets handsome Will (Archie Renaux), who mistakes Ana for her boss– a white lie that sets off a glamorous chain of events, romance and opportunity, until her fib threatens to surface.

Written By Darren

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Upgraded soars high thanks to the electrifying pairing of Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux in this delightful romantic comedy that knows exactly what fans want from it, and delivers exactly that in one enchanting experience making for the perfect choice for your next date night.

Airplanes and airports have always been a favourite location of romantic comedies, genre classics like Love, Actually, Crazy Rich Asians and Sleepless in Seattle instantly come to mind, and for the second time in only a matter of months another streaming romantic comedy features its two lovers beginning to fall in love in first class. This time around, we see Riverdale’s Camila Mendes starring as a young woman traveling to London for a work trip, only to strike up a blossoming romance with the handsome young man sitting next to her on the airplane… after dumping a Bloody Mary all over him in the airport lounge. While it closely follows the formula of the romantic comedy genre, the film’s writers know exactly what they are doing which allows the romance to bubble and overflow on the screen, resulting in Upgrade becoming an utterly charming and delightful romantic comedy just in time for Valentine's Day.

Romance and career, it’s a pairing that you often see in the romantic comedy genre in which the story seemingly puts the two competing interests against each other. Every viewer knows from the start that Ana is going to end up with both by the end, and while the story never truly puts either of them in jeopardy, it does put Ana through the ringer so to speak. The story itself is your formulaic romantic comedy, but the writers let the moments that the fans want to see from the genre fully come to life on screen. We get several quiet and sweet moments between Ana and Will, allowing their romance to blossom in front of your eyes; hilarious moments with the splendid cast of supporting characters, and that fairytale ending that you demand of such a film. The screenplay lets the romance fully come to life, embracing the best moments of the genre and allowing them to enrich the film, rather than feeling like motions the film has to go through to appease the fans. Plus, the London setting only enhances the romance of Ana and Will with such a beautiful city and its culture playing a part in the story. It may not be the next best romantic comedy by any means, but it is everything fans will want from such a film nicely wrapped up in one delightful package.

What makes Upgraded a winner is the lead performances of Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux, who’s swoon worthy romantic chemistry illuminates the screen. As a romantic comedy leading lady, Mendes soars and creates one lead that you can’t help but fall in love with. As Ana, Mendes captures a tenacity and determination that drives her work based storyline with an effortless charm that allows everyone to see a bit of themselves in Ana. Opposite Renaux, their romance explodes across the screen from their first encounter in the airport lounge, to their traditional meet cute in first class with an infectious playful banter that is pure fun. From there, the connection builds between them, allowing the romance to smolder for the first half of the film before taking flight in the second half. Even when their characters are fighting, you can feel that romantic spark between Mendes and Renaux, which is the film’s biggest asset. Renaux does a wonderful job developing Will as a character, creating a truly dreamy male lead for the film that demands him to be in more romance based projects, even if the writing for Will is left wanting more in the second half.

Romantic comedies always rely heavily on their supporting cast to help create memorable moments, and Upgraded features a good supporting cast. Continuing to prove that she can do no wrong, Marisa Tomei is a wicked delight as Ana’s boss Claire, channeling her inner Miranda Priestly while finding some sweet moments with Mendes. Even if Tomei’s accent is something else and truly throws you through a loop at times, she’s that strong of a performer that you can easily look past it. Lena Olin is a delight as Will’s mother Catherine, instantly livening up the screen whenever she graces it with her presence, while Anthony Head makes a great scene partner for her as the eccentric Julian. Thomas Kretschmann is dependable as always as the head of Erwin’s auction house, making the most of every second of his small amount of screentime, and you can’t fault Rachel Matthews and Fola Evans-Akingbola for being pitch perfect as Claire’s nasty assistants who take pleasure in going out of their way to make Ana suffer.

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it’s guaranteed that every February we are destined to get a handful of romance and romantic comedy films released just in time for Valentine’s Day. And this year, Upgraded is easily the best offering for the big day to grace either the big screen or your home television. It’s your classic romantic comedy that you know and love, never missing a beloved beat of the genre, brought to life by a talented cast that never fails to bring all the romance and laughter that fans will want from such a film. With Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux in the lead roles and burning up the screen with their strong performances and dazzling romantic chemistry that reaches sky high levels, Upgraded is a delightful, sweet and truly romantic experience that will instantly have you falling in love with it.

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