Do you dream of flying first class to London and meeting a person who looks good, is rich and loves children? Would you tell little white lies to ensure inroads into the dreamboat’s life? Upgraded, the latest rom-com from Amazon, is a paean to the joys and rewards of following the precepts of the “fake it till you make it” school.
Ana (Camila Mendes) has a double degree in art history. She escapes her life in Florida selling paintings of boats to rich retirees to come to New York City. She lives in her sister’s rent-controlled apartment, sleeping on the futon (not couch mind you) while trying to educate her brother-in-law about the finer points of art when he would rather have a puppy.
Ana has got an art internship at this posh auction house, which she hopes will earn her enough social capital to set up her gallery. Her boss, Claire (Marisa Tomei), is a scary ice queen in the best Miranda Priestly tradition. After catching a horrendous mistake in the catalogue, Ana gets a chance to accompany Claire to London on a business trip as a third assistant.
Director: Carlson Young
Cast: Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux, Thomas Kretschmann, Grégory Montel, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei
Runtime: 104 minutes
Storyline: An art intern meets a dreamboat on a trip to London, she tells a little lie and has to go on lying to keep the fantasy afloat
Assistants 1 and 2 — Suzette (Rachel Matthews) and Renee (Fola Evans-Akingbola) — are naturally vicious and mean. The ticket agent feels sorry for Ana and upgrades her to first class — I would love to meet such a generous soul, especially on a 17-hour flight to Sao Paulo.
It is time for the meet-cute, as Ana spills her bloody Mary on William (Archie Renaux), and with the two seated next to each other, they chat away easily. Ana lets him believe she is the director of the auction house and not a lowly minion.
Ana swirls into London high society thanks to William’s mum, Catherine (Lena Olin), an actress. There is another auction, a multi-million dollar sale, rivalries, difficult-to-get tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (did Catherine mean Branagh when she said she would ask Ken?), lunch reservations, as well as William coaching at-risk children.
The big reveal and misunderstandings are easily got out of the way, thankfully minus the mad dash to the airport. And six months later, all is set right with everyone’s dreams coming true, including Ana’s brother-in-law getting a gorgeous Great Dane.
Mendes follows up her Veronica Lodge from Riverdale with a spirited performance and Tomei is watchable as always. Julian Marx (Anthony Head) as the absinthe-swigging dead artist is fitfully fun. Upgraded is the very definition of a safe fantasy where everything is in its place and goes along its designated path. If that is all you are looking for from your movie fix, then Upgraded will comfortably hit the sweet spot.
Upgraded is currently streaming on Prime Video