Despite a boring title, this amazing Camila Mendes-led Rom-Com is anything but

Despite a boring title, this amazing Camila Mendes-led Rom-Com is anything but

Briefing

  • Improved
    is a well-crafted and entertaining romantic comedy with colorful characters and delightful dialogues.
  • Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux have great chemistry as the lead couple, making their romance believable.
  • The film’s success is due to its well-known actors and interesting characterizations, making it a fun and enjoyable experience.



Prime Video’s latest, Improvedstarring RiverdaleCamila Mendes as an ambitious intern masquerading as her boss is surprisingly more entertaining than expected. Admittedly, I had very low expectations for Improved. I was kind of disappointed with Prime Video’s the other zoey, which had a similar premise; has a ridiculously dull title; and rom-coms are very hit or miss these days.


Improved movie poster with temp logo

Upgraded is a romantic comedy film directed by Carlson Young. Camila Mendes stars as Ana, a young artist brought to London during her internship alongside her handsome and wealthy boss, William.

Pros

  • The rom-com is surprisingly good despite a simple premise
  • Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux have great chemistry
  • Upgraded has charm and makes for an enjoyable watch
ANTI

  • Anna and Claire’s relationship could have been explored further


However, Improved, directed by Carlson Young and written by Christine Lenig, Justin Matthews, and Luke Spencer Roberts, is a nice treat because, despite how simple it is, it actually seems carefully crafted and intended to be a fun time. Although the comedy is hardly laugh-out-loud funny, this fun romp about mistaken identity has plenty of great moments.


Upgraded is a charming romantic comedy


The film begins with your typical rom-com opening: Ana Santos (Mendes) is not in a good place in life, an overworked intern who is desperate to get the attention of her diva boss and is sleeping on her sister’s futon . Her brother-in-law follows her to pack it up and head back to Florida to join the Marines. Undeterred, Ana focuses on impressing her strangely accented boss, Claire Dupont (Marisa Tomei). Anna’s love for art is well articulated in the film’s introduction.


It’s a recurring thing in the film – Ana shows off her artistic skills. And as she rightfully defends her craft, the film has fun with her not taking her sister and brother-in-law for granted. The sequence is hilarious, establishing one of the film’s best qualities – its characters. The characterizations are exciting and varied, sometimes clichéd, but still enjoyable. Improved finds its momentum when we meet our leader, Will (Shadow and bone Archie Renaux) and his mother, Catherine (Lena Olin).

Camila Mendes & Archie Renaux lead a charismatic, well-written ensemble


Renaux is used enough as a romantic lead, although he has a relatively limited arc. There could have been more of him, but his scenes with Mendes are compelling. Their chemistry is enjoyable and their dialogue never reads as fake or fake. They feel like people who meet under the right circumstances and fall in love with each other. Some rom-coms skip the part where we actually spend time with the lead couple getting to know each other, but the couple’s cute banter in Improved reveals enough about them to make us believe in their romance. Screenwriting, huh? It is quite essential.


Casting is too, as Renaux and Mendes also have great chemistry with Olin, who is heavily involved in the plot. Olin and Anthony Head, in particular, do Improved a valuable experience. They play funny, engaging people that are expertly crafted. Renaux and Mendes stand opposite two legendary actors and blend seamlessly into their worlds. Mendes also has the added pressure of going toe-to-toe with Marisa Tomei, whose presence is always delightful. Improved the success is mainly due to the well-known actors and interesting characterization.

Improved
it’s a nice treat because, despite how simple it is, it actually seems to be carefully crafted and intended to be a fun time.


A small call to Derry girlsSaoirse-Monia Jackson, following a thankless role in Flash. She’s cute and adds some excitement, though I wish it was a third Ana, as the movie could sure use a few extra laughs. Rachel Matthews is as entertaining as ever. She nails that mean, privileged, mean girl act pretty well, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. It was a major point in the Happy Death Day movies.


The night agentFola Evans-Akingbola is also comical, getting a big laugh out of me during a moment when Anna’s luck inevitably turns. Matthews and Evans-Akingbola are present enough to impress without upsetting the precarious balance. They add to the screenwriter’s colorful characters, helping to bolster Anna’s stodgy and slightly uninteresting romance.

Improved understatement is a mistake

Ana and William laugh together at a club in Upgraded


Then we have Tomei trying to play a Miranda Priestley knock-off. Fortunately, her screen time is minimal, limiting the risk of not being expected. There is an engaging subplot surrounding her character that could have been fleshed out more to give Anna’s big moment in the third act more impact. This would be the biggest point of the film, as it doesn’t integrate Anna’s relationship and perception of Claire effectively. For what is otherwise a fun little rant, this isn’t a bug worth dwelling on.


Don’t underestimate Improved. The script is nice and fun, the characters are colorful, Mendes and Renaux carry the romance very well, and the movie is a fun escapist rom-com that delivers exactly what it needs to give us a good time. Improved it may be poorly titled, but it has the fun makings of an engaging romantic comedy, perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day.


Improved

Publication date
February 9, 2024

directory
Carlson Young

Cast
Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux, Marisa Tomei, Lena Olin, Anthony Head, Saoirse-Monica Jackson

writer
Christine Lenig, Justin Matthews, Luke Roberts, Karl Hall

Studio(s)
Gulfstream Pictures, Luber Roklin Entertainment, Tempo Productions

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