Classic rom-com and old Hollywood vibes abound in silly, adorable At Midnight from co-writer/director Jonah Feingold. As he did before with Dating & New York, Feingold easily pays homage to the romantic comedies of yesteryear while putting his own delicious stamp on the genre. If he has more in store, I would love to see the types of films he makes in this unsung subgenre. Diego Boneta and Monica Barbaro make an excellent match; Boneta, who also produces, helps bring a cultural flair to a saucy, meta examination on the Hollywood lifestyle and superhero flicks. Prepare for a atmospheric moonlit stroll down the streets of At Midnight…
Deep in the throes of filming her new superhero sequel, Super Society 3, movie star Sophie (Barbaro) discovers that her longtime boyfriend and lead star of the film franchise, Adam (Anders Holm), has been cheating on her. Adam always kind of seemed like a douchebag, but finding him in his trailer making out with another woman is still too much for Sophie to bear. Naturally, Sophie’s agent, Margot (Whitney Cummings), who also happens to represent Adam, advises that they keep their break up a secret until well after the movie’s release. Filming on location with Adam in Mexico and living a lie whilst claiming to be an iconic figure for women everywhere in the form of her character Firephina begins to eat away at Sophie. Who is she, if not Firephina? Bigger and better roles, perhaps?
Meanwhile, obvious romantic interest Alejandro (Boneta), a charismatic hotel manager, would rather spend his time bagging throwaway tourists for connection than to actually find a romantic partner. His one night stands are enough, and bonus points if neither of them know one another’s names. Alejandro is up for a possible promotion as the New York branch manager, so he must be on his best behavior. This means helping to accommodate the cast and crew of Super Society 3 while they are filming. When he brings towels up to a room and bumps into a nude Sophie, Alejandro is already off to a bumpy start. Initial impressions of Sophie are that she is a prima donna actress, but before one can say “meet cute,” the two are inseparable—could Alejandro have finally found a perfect match?
As with Dating & New York before it, Feingold has a real feel for the rom-com cliches and sweet vibes. The old-school magic of a fairy tale-esque opening credits sequence bleeds through each time Alejandro and Sophie go out on their midnight dates. Colorful and creative, many shots in At Midnight are warm and comforting, including my personal favorite: a gorgeous wide-angle shot as the two walk away from one another after a tango session. Their forbidden romance is tantalizing to watch unfold, and if it spotted in public, it could be bad for each of them in different ways. Beautiful and classic imagery of screen projection peaking out from behind our characters as they watch a movie is also present, placing emphasis on the film’s intimate lighting.
Boneta speaks fluent Spanish for many of his scenes, while Barbaro is our window into his world. Getting to eventually meet Alejandro’s entire family helps to reinforce his behaviors and bad habits. Some of the food he makes for Sophie looks drool-worthy, like those “prepared chips.” The script, co-written by Maria Hinojos and Giovanni M. Porta, is able to stay meta on a variety of different topics, including the movie industry, actors, Mexican sterotypes, the superhero genre as a whole, and hotel/restaurant management. The superhero movie within the movie looks so cheesy and ridiculous, which I suppose is kind of the point.
Catherine Cohen as Sophie’s best friend manages to steal the show on more than one occasion. A variety of fun movie ideas are thrown around jokingly—Jennifer Coolidge playing Mr. Potato Head is definitely something I would pay to see! Diego Boneta and Monica Barbaro’s chemistry speaks for itself. At Midnight does not try anything new within the genre, nor does it go out of its way for poignant messaging or depth. Ultimately though, At Midnight is a sweet rom-com that gets the job done, and for those who wish to be swept up in its comforting vibes, it should strike the right balance.
Prepare to go out At Midnight when the cuteness debuts to Paramount+ on Friday, February 10th.