Crafting a satisfying romantic comedy in today’s cynical landscape is no small feat, with the genre’s well-worn tropes often leaving little room for innovation. Yet, “Upgraded,” directed by Carlson Young and written by Christine Lenig, Justin Matthews, and Luke Spencer Roberts, manages to breathe new life into familiar elements, infusing the genre with fresh energy and endearing charm.
The film follows Ana (played by Camila Mendes), a young woman stuck in a dead-end job at a prestigious New York City auction house. Determined to escape her mundane existence and pursue her dream of opening an art gallery, Ana’s luck takes a turn when she lands a coveted spot as an assistant on a business trip to London. However, a chance encounter with a handsome stranger named Will (Archie Renaux) leads to a series of misunderstandings that complicate her journey.
Ana’s transformation from underdog to empowered protagonist draws parallels to the classic Cinderella story, complete with fairy godmothers, evil step-siblings, and a daunting stepmother figure. Yet, the film deftly navigates these familiar tropes, grounding them in a relatable reality that feels both fresh and authentic.
Mendes and Renaux deliver captivating performances as the film’s central couple, their on-screen chemistry adding depth and warmth to their characters’ budding romance. However, it’s the supporting cast, including Lena Olin and Marisa Tomei, who truly shine, infusing the film with energy and charisma.
Director Carlson Young’s adept handling of dynamic female characters is evident throughout the film, with each character given room to grow and evolve. While the film’s visuals may lack the stylized flair of Young’s previous work, they nonetheless convey a sense of vibrant energy and momentum.
Despite its flaws, including underdeveloped plot points and underutilized characters, “Upgraded” ultimately succeeds in delivering a heartwarming and empowering tale of self-discovery and love. With its uplifting themes and capable direction, it offers a refreshing take on the romantic comedy genre, making it a delightful watch for audiences seeking a dose of feel-good entertainment.