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‘Upgraded’: Rom-Com Novel Vibes With Meet Cutes and Girl Bosses

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It’s February and we all know that this is the time that romantic-comedy lovers shine the brightest. And it’s not too surprising to see a surge of romance films pop up around this time of year, giving many of us a variety of flicks to watch. Sure, they can be predictable or feel like a copy-and-paste of other films. But if we can find comfort, warmth, and hope in these movies no matter how unrealistic they seem, then so be it. And that’s exactly the energy that we get to see from Upgraded, Carlson Young’s new romantic-comedy film on Prime Video.

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Upgraded follows the story of Ana Santos, a woman stuck as an intern who aspires to have a career in the massive art world. Being an intern, however, means bullies for coworkers, an intimidating boss, and an accidental white lie that lands her in the arms of a charming love interest. The film stars Camila Mendes as Ana herself, Archie Renaux as the charming Will, and Marisa Tomei as the headstrong perfectionist boss, Claire. The film also stars Lena Olin, Anthony Head, and Thomas Kretschmann in supporting roles.

(left to right) Camila Mendes as Ana Santos and Archie Renaux as William in ‘UPGRADED’. Photo: Amazon Prime Video

Keeping it brief, Upgraded is like any other romcom film with its fairly generic story and predictable plot twists. But the point isn’t always about whether we’ve seen this before. Sometimes, it’s about whether a film takes us elsewhere for less than two hours and lets us be delusional about whether or not a romance with a hottie can happen. Think about it: How often does it really happen that we board a flight, a train ride, or even a bus, and it pushes us in the direction of a fateful romantic interaction? Probably only in our dreams and fantasies. And for a movie that’s just barely over 90 minutes, Upgraded manages to distract us from the reality of our own lives. 

But don’t be fooled, because Upgraded’s romcom label isn’t completely truthful. The major focus of the film is on Ana’s journey through the art world and how she juggles the career she wants, the man she wants, and the life she actually has. The art world is cruel and the stakes are high, but to Ana? The reward is worth it in her eyes. More than anything, the film is a representation of a woman taking charge and kicking butt in a cutthroat industry. And in a month full of rosy vibes and pink hearts, sometimes as women, this is exactly what we need to pull ourselves up from the ground and fight on. If anything, love is more of a bonus.

(left to right) Camila Mendes as Ana Santos and Marisa Tomei as Claire in ‘UPGRADED’. Photo: Amazon Prime Video

After seeing Camila Mendes in her Netflix film, Do Revenge, it was exciting to see her in another project as she expands her range. Naturally, Mendes gives as much effort into the role as she needs to. But that isn’t saying much for a movie like Upgraded which is definitely a one-time watch for many. Should Mendes choose to be in more films of this genre in the midst of its comeback, we can only hope the choices are slightly better than this, especially given her untapped potential. Meanwhile, Archie Renaux exhibits a strange level of calm and suave that is guaranteed to charm audiences. And Marisa Tomei is a whole different person as a stern art curator who knows her job inside and out. Though, one has to wonder why there was even an attempt at a random accent on her end as it served no purpose.

Upgraded isn’t a fancy work of art like the pieces it showcases throughout the movie. And it isn’t something that’s going to change the course of film or the genre of romantic-comedies forever. But the movie is fun to watch with a leading lady who is relatable in so many ways. And for bookworms, this movie has the vibes of any lighthearted romance novel which is a major plus! If you’re not big on romance, save your energy and skip it. But if you’re looking for a movie to watch with a special someone or with some gal pals, be sure to check out Upgraded and get your fill of love.

 Samosa Rating:  

Upgraded receives 3 out of 5 Samosas.

Upgraded is now streaming on Prime Video.
Runtime: 1h 44m

If you want even more film discussions, reviews, or just some good old recommendations, be sure to follow @samosasandpopcorn on TikTok!

Pooja Chand
Pooja Chand
Known on other platforms as Samosas and Popcorn, Pooja is a movie enthusiast topped with sprinkles of her love for TV. She can typically be found watching anything from the latest blockbuster movie to a feel good anime, and is always ready to start the discussion on movies and TV so you don't have to.

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