Rated: R
Release Date: 02/09/2024
Production Company: Amazon Prime Video

Camila Mendes, Archie Renaux, Marisa Tomei and Lena Olin.

Director: Carlson Young. Producers: Bill Bindley, Lauren Cox, Mike Karz, Lena Rocklin and Piers Tempest. Executive Producers: Karl Hall, Rachel Matthews, Camila Mendes, Thomas Salentine and Matt Williams. Screenwriters: Christine Lenig, Luke Spencer Roberts and Justin Matthews. Cinematographer: Mike Stern.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Of course, you'll know exactly how the new romantic comedy, "Upgraded" will play out, but what may surprise you is just how genuinely fun and entertaining it turns out to be.

Directed by Carlson Young "The Blazing World"), the fluffy, flighty "Upgraded" stars Camila Mendes (TV's "Riverdale") as Ana, an art history major who dreams of owning her own art auction house. That doesn't seem to be in the cards anytime soon, because Ana is having a string of bad luck getting into the industry. It helps to be connected.

For now, Ana is staying with her sister Vivian (Aimee Carrero, "The Menu") and her husband Ronnie (TV's "The Underdoggs") at their cramped New York apartment. Vivian is OK with the arrangement, but Ronnie doesn't mince words. He tells Ana regularly that she needs to move out. If only she could.

Ana has a low paying job at a Manhattan art gallery that is run by her eccentric and fussy boss, Claire (A funny Marisa Tomei, "Spider-Man: No Way Home").

Claire dismisses Ana regularly and relies on her go to "girls," Renee (Fola Evans-Akingbola, TV's "The Night Agent") and Suzette (Rachel Matthews, "The Duel"). They will do anything to please Claire. Ana is a bit of a threat to them because she knows her stuff.
Consequently, Suzette and Renee are constantly bullying and harassing Ana.

As luck would have it, Ana prevents Claire from an embarrassing job mishap. Claire soon sees something in this youngster. She even insists Ana accompany her on an important business trip to London. Ana's not flying first class, but hey, it's a free trip and she's thinking this could be her big break.

When Ana gets her ticket upgraded to first class thanks to a nice agent, (Juliet Agnes, TV's "Dreaming Whilst Black"), things are indeed looking up. Seated across from Ana is a handsome, young and very rich guy named William (Archie Renaux, TV's "Shadow and Bone").

As they chat each other up over glasses of champagne, Ana gets lost in the moment and implies she's the head of big art gallery in New York. He's so impressed that Ana continues to roll with the lie. What Ana doesn't realize is how big a mess she's about to get into from pretending to be someone she's not.

The rest of "Upgraded" centers around Ana trying to keep from being exposed. Fortunately, William's mother Catherine (an excellent Lena Olin, TV's "Hunters"), who is a famous actress, really likes Ana. So does her close friend Julian (a funny Anthony Head, TV's "Ted Lasso").

When everything hits the fan and it appears all hope is lost for Ana and William, luck, love and money prevails in the end.

If you like your rom-coms sweet, charming, and with a touch of raunchiness, then "Upgraded" is just the ticket.

"Upgraded" debuts on Amazon Prime Video Feb. 9.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Look At This Trailer For "UPGRADED"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 1975
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson and Jack Wormser
Director of Photography: David Watkin
Screenwriter: John Byrum and Toni Amber
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Do you know where you're going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?
Do you know?
Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you, there's no open doors. What are you hoping for? Do you know? "Theme from Mahogany...
The "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" was sung by Diana Ross in the 1975 movie "Mahogany." But, who initially recorded the song in 1973?
"Roberta Flack"
"Natalie Cole"
"Deniece Williams"
"Thelma Houston"