Camila Mendes Is Great In Prime Video’s Upgraded, But I Wish The Rom-Com Leaned Into The Romance More

Camila Mendes Is Great In Prime Video’s Upgraded, But I Wish The Rom-Com Leaned Into The Romance More

After finding success on the hit CW show Riverdale, Camila Mendes has starred in some pretty great movies over the years and that doesn’t seem to be stopping. Most recently, the actress appeared in the 2024 movie schedule's Prime Video romantic comedy Upgraded, where she also served as a producer for the first time. However, I’m not sure I’d call it a true romantic comedy, since it felt like the romance was pushed aside most of the time. 

Upgraded follows Ana (Mendes) an aspiring art curator who lands a dream internship with one of the best art houses in the United States. After taking a risk to save an auction, Ana catches the attention of her demanding boss Claire (Marisa Tomei), and she finds herself temporarily promoted and invited on a work trip. Ana’s good luck holds steady when she is upgraded to first class where she meets Will (Archie Renaux). The two hit it off, but things get complicated when Ana leads him to believe that she is the boss of the art house that is unknowingly doing business with Will’s mother. 

As always Mendes did not disappoint, and she was stunning in the role. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t deliver on the romantic premise enough for me to consider it a true romantic comedy.

Camila Mendes Shines As Ana In Upgraded 

I can’t say I’m Camila Mendes’s biggest fan since I’ve never seen an episode of Riverdale, but that hasn’t stopped me from supporting the young actress-turned-producer as she rises through the ranks of Hollywood. She’s stunning in every role she steps into whether that’s the conniving and jaded Drea in Netflix’s black teen comedy Do Revenge or the skeptical caregiver Katie in the psychological thriller Dangerous Lies. So, I knew she'd be great in Upgraded.

There’s no doubt that Mendes breathes life into her Upgraded character. The banter between her and Will is hilarious and fast-paced thanks to her skill as an actress. And the more expository dialogue about the art world feels authentic because of how passionately she delivers the lines. 

Perhaps, the greatest attribute of Mendes's performance as Ana is that she can relate to her in more ways than one. Not only did she have to prove herself in Hollywood, but when the actress sat down with CinemaBlend she opened up about the time she told a white lie to get a job just like her character in Upgraded

But The Movie Focused Too Much On Her Career And Not Enough On The Romance 

Unfortunately, Mendes’s stellar performance can’t save Upgraded from the ugly truth that it hardly feels like a rom-com because of how pushed aside the romance is. Instead of focusing the plot on whether or not Ana and Will can make a relationship work when he finds out about the white lie, most of the movie centers on Ana’s quest to prove herself to Claire. 

It’s sad to say since the director, Carlson Young told CinemaBlend how much research she did to ensure this movie felt like all the best romantic comedies that came before it. But something was definitely lost in translation. 

In my opinion, it felt like the creative team was worried that making Ana and Will’s will-they, won’t-they relationship the center point would diminish her career aspirations. It’s an unfortunate take and one that’s farthest from the truth since women can seek professional growth and a romantic relationship at the same time without compromising the other. 

Couple that with the fact that it made no sense why Ana would keep lying to Will in the first place, and you have a romantic comedy that fails to deliver on the romance it promised in the trailer. Sure, there’s some good banter between the two leads and the ending does feature a romantic gesture in the form of stolen first-class salt and pepper shakers, but none of that saves the movie from the fact that Ana’s career aspirations are the driving force of her character arc not her relationship with Will. 

Of course, that’s not a bad thing. It’s just unfortunate given how the movie is being marketed. Had the team decided to promote it as a modern The Devil Wears Prada-type movie (which fans have always wanted a sequel to), I think it would disappoint viewers like me far less because we wouldn’t be expecting an earth-shattering romance. 

Regardless, if you’re a fan of Camila Mendes or borderline romantic comedies, then you should definitely check this movie out. Upgraded is streaming now with a Prime Video subscription