Written and directed by Michael Lukk Litwak, Molli and Max in the Future stars The Flight Attendant actress Zosia Mamet and Aristotle Athari as the eponymous Molli and Max. The film follows human Molli and half-fish-person, half-human Max and their awkward 12-year friendship, as they navigate career aspirations, relationships, the future and space sex-cults.
In a future that comprises multiple dimensions, power crystals and mecha fights (robot battles), Max literally crashes into Molli’s life, with a series of transactions forming the basis of their friendship. Slowly but surely, they bond over their individual dreams and beliefs only for Mollie to suddenly leave for a mission, leaving their evident chemistry unresolved – until they cross paths five (galactic standard) years later and they have become “ruined” by their individual fates. Although their friendship shortly resumes, it is clear that their chemistry is more than platonic.
Presenting itself as an intergalactic When Harry Met Sally (along with an easy listening jazz soundtrack), Max and Molli offer the same chalk-and-cheese dynamic as the classic 1980’s duo. Molli dreams of being more than just a “lowly” human while Max wants a future in robotics and away from his father’s “rock” business. However, their respective paths quickly distort their view on relationships and reflect their inner insecurity, causing them to question not only the need to date but their own compatibility – an idea they quickly shut down as they are exposed to each other’s flaws, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
But it is not all romantic tension as the film quickly becomes swept under by its overwhelming eccentricity. Light touches of existentialism and social media influence play small parts in the duo’s increasingly confused state of mind while throwing a straightforward premise off its axis, resulting in unnecessary complications in order to accommodate the potential of an intergalactic existence. Thankfully, the charm of Max and Molli’s friendship keeps the film on track, mostly thanks to the chemistry between Mamet and Athari.
Litwak’s vision of the future is both quirky and rustic, where refined technology is a working progress, trashy reality contests dominate galactic politics, and people can revisit memories over chicken wings. While the special effects allow for some surprising characters such as deadpan polyamorous sex gods and artificially created publicists, the production design of Max and Molli adds to its creativity, with practical effects and animation shaping this unlikely rom-com into a modern B-movie.
Overall, Molli and Max in the Future promises something different – and despite some issues in consistency, its spin on the traditional romantic-comedy offers charm, laughs and a touch of weirdness.
Director: Michael Lukk Litwak
Stars: Zosia Mamet, Aristotle Athari, Erin Darke
Runtime: 93 minutes