18 April 2024
Entertainment Movies

‘What Occurs Later’ Evaluation: Meg Ryan Revisits the Meet-Cute

Few can compete with Meg Ryan’s rom-com résumé. Because the star of three classics penned by Nora Ephron — “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Bought Mail” — she might as properly be the mascot of the style’s late Nineteen Eighties and ’90s golden period. “What Occurs Later,” which she each directs and stars in, is an acceptable homecoming for a seasoned professional.

Ryan and her co-star, David Duchovny, painting Willa and Invoice, former lovers who stumble throughout one another at a tiny regional airport whereas the 2 are ready out a snowstorm. (They share the identify “W. Davis,” and the identification confusion is a part of what results in their reunion meet-cute.) With their connecting flights delayed indefinitely, the exes rapidly make amends for what’s occurred within the 25 years since they final crossed paths. Invoice has a gentle job and a household in Boston; Willa is a therapeutic massage therapist and chakra healer in Austin. Clashing personalities result in petty bickering and a few harsh phrases, however their banter confirms the chemistry remains to be there.

“What Occurs Later,” which Ryan wrote with Kirk Lynn and Steven Dietz (primarily based on Dietz’s play “Capturing Star”), feels purposely misplaced in time. Its story is bottled throughout the liminal area of the airport — its precise location stays a thriller — which places the give attention to the 2 leads making an attempt to reconcile their pasts with their current. Ryan provides a touch of magical realism, turning the airport intercom right into a cheeky voice-over that responds to Willa and Invoice. These fantasy parts are largely performed for laughs, however the dreaminess and isolation of the darkened airport provide an excuse for Willa and Invoice to open up to one another and take into account whether or not their reunion actually was decided by destiny.

With Ryan and Duchovny each of their early 60s, “What Occurs Later” is decidedly a rom-com for these of a sure age, and a few acquainted, even drained, tropes of that subgenre seem right here. Invoice complains nonstop in regards to the saccharine pop covers of rock songs taking part in over the airport audio system — “It was rhythm, not algorithm,” he moans, over a cheery Third Eye Blind cowl — and he has comparable gripes about cancel tradition and pronouns. Then again, the maturity of its characters permits “What Occurs Later” to discover matters not often present in films about youthful, extra wide-eyed {couples}. At one level, Invoice and Willa frankly talk about a miscarriage they skilled again after they had been dwelling collectively — each the ache of the occasion and all the thornier feelings every one went by way of, too.

As you’d count on from a film about what-ifs, “What Occurs Later” is stuffed with sentimentality and primed to be a comforting snow-day look ahead to the upcoming vacation season. Whereas it’s unlikely to hitch the rom-com pantheon, its charming leads and humorous truths do invoke the spirit of Ephron, to whom the movie is devoted. It’s a worthy tribute to her, delivered by maybe probably the most certified particular person to create one.

What Occurs Later
Rated R for grownup themes and swearing at airport pop music. Operating time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters.