‘Meet Cute’: Kaley Cuoco uses time travel to woo Pete Davidson in smart rom-com

It’s an endearingly offbeat, magnetic pairing of the two TV stars on Peacock.

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Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) enjoys her introduction to Gary (Pete Davidson) so much, she travels back in time to repeat it in “Meet Cute.”

Peacock

The Caught-in-a-Time-Loop premise has been implemented in romantic comedies such as “Groundhog Day” (1993) and “Palm Springs” (2020), the sci-fi actioner “Edge of Tomorrow” (2014), the horror film “Happy Death Day” (2017), the teen drama “Before I Fall” (2017), the Natasha Lyonne-starring “Russian Doll” series, etc., etc. It’s almost as if WE’RE caught in a time loop.

Here we go again with the Peacock movie “Meet Cute” — but the good news is that screenwriter Noga Pnueli, director Alex Lehmann and lead actors Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson have combined talents to deliver a smart, funny and at times truly poignant story.

Yes, “SNL” funnyman and serial dating legend Pete Davidson is the lead in a romantic comedy, and when we factor in Davidson’s performance in “The King of Staten Island” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” along with his work here: Hey, this guy can act. (We’ve long known Kaley Cuoco is a kinetic force.)

‘Meet Cute’

Untitled

Peacock presents a film directed by Alex Lehmann and written by Noga Pnueli. No MPAA rating. Running time: 89 minutes. Available Wednesday on Peacock.

“Meet Cute” opens with a close-up on Cuoco’s Sheila as she walks in Manhattan with Lauren Spencer-Smith’s version of the King-Goffin classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” on the soundtrack, offering an audio cue of the storyline to follow. Cut to a sports pub where Sheila works up the nerve to approach Davidson’s Gary, the only person in the bar not watching the action on TV. (“What do you have against televised sports, did a football kill your grandpa or something?” Sheila will later ask Gary.) They strike up an awkward, flirty conversation and then Sheila blurts out: “I’m a time traveler, from the future.”

Of course, Gary thinks Sheila is kidding, but he plays along with the gag as Sheila explains she’s from just 24 hours in the future. Thing is, Sheila is actually telling the truth, and she’s constantly reliving the night when she met Gary and the possibilities seemed endless. They meet in the bar. They go for a walk. They grab a bite at an Indian restaurant. More walking and talking. Ice cream. More walking and talking, more revelations about their respective lives. More talk from Sheila about being from the future.

Gary, as you’d expect, thinks Sheila is crazy — but he’s also drawn to her. And then the night ends, and they do it all over again, but then Sheila realizes she can go back a lot further than just one day and make some serious adjustments to Gary’s life in order to spare him lasting emotional trauma and improve his life. But this is the thing: Does Sheila have the RIGHT to try to alter Gary’s past without his knowledge? Isn’t it Gary’s pain to endure and overcome?

Cuoco and Davidson make for an endearingly offbeat, magnetic pairing; the two actors are up to the challenge of playing different shades within their respective characters. The thing about “Meet Cute” is the characters don’t really meet cute in the time-honored rom-com cliché manner — getting in a fender-bender, reaching for the same item in a department store, someone spilling coffee, etc. She just walks up to him in a bar. Three hundred times.

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