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HomeReviews MoviesMolli and Max in the Future movie review (2024)

Molli and Max in the Future movie review (2024)

Molli (Mamet) and Max’s (Athari) meet-cute is about as quirky as they get: She swerves to avoid a chaotic jumble of space debris while out hunting magic crystals in her flying car, he crash-lands on her windshield in an old-fashioned astronaut suit, he guilts her into taking him into the city for a robot fight, they keep hanging out afterwards. But the romantic tension between them never leads to anything, and soon larger concerns—the chip on his shoulder, her quest for spiritual enlightenment—separate them, at least temporarily. 

The film is divided into chapters, in the style of its inspiration; it’s set over the course of 12 years, also in imitation of Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s rom-com classic. (The interstitial interviews are missing here.) Their path to realization, self- and otherwise, is winding and full of diversions: Familiar comedic actors like Aparna Nancherla, Matteo Lane, and Arturo Castro pop in and out of the narrative, as do fantastical locations that are named-dropped as casually as if they were exits on the New Jersey Turnpike. (One of the funnier jokes of this type is the Quantum Zone, a dimension spun off from a popular podcast.) 

It’s all either whimsically charming or annoyingly cute, depending on your temperament. The thing that keeps the film from spinning out into the atmosphere (literally or figuratively, your choice) is the chemistry between Mamet and Athari. On the whole, Mamet gives the more dynamic performance; her character’s angst feels both specific and universal in a way that reads as broadly, quintessentially human. But the all-important back-and-forth is easy and unforced, making it feel like these are actually two friends who might one day become lovers—if they can ever get over themselves.

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