Meg Ryan is one of the most popular rom-com stars in Hollywood. She made her acting debut at the age of 18 in 1981 with the drama film Rich and Famous. She starred in TV commercials and did small roles in movies. In 1986, she played the role of Carole Bradshaw, wife of naval flight officer Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw, in Tom Cruise’s action drama Top Gun. 

Meg Ryan’s breakthrough role did not come until 1989 when she starred in the rom-com When Harry Met Sally, alongside comic actor Billy Crystal. She went on to appear in numerous other rom-coms throughout her career. After quite a long hiatus from rom-coms and acting in general, she has returned in yet another rom-com What Happens Later. However, it has not been given a warm welcome as one might think.

Meg Ryan when harry met sally
Meg Ryan

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Meg Ryan’s What Happens Later Gets Grim Response from Critics

Meg Ryan was supposed to make her feature film directorial debut in 2011, but it did not happen. Eventually, she made her directorial debut with the 2015 drama movie Ithaca which was based on author William Saroyan’s 1943 novel The Human Comedy.

what happens later starring meg ryan and david duchovny
Meg Ryan and David Duchovny in What Happens Later

Ryan directed and co-wrote the movie What Happens Later, in which she stars as Willa, a woman who meets her ex-boyfriend Bill after 20 years. The two end up spending the night at the airport as they get trapped due to snow and reminisce about their relationship in the past.

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Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes shows that What Happens Later has a score of 51% on the basis of the reviews of 35 critics. While this might sound like bad news, it is also Ryan’s second-best score in the past 22 years because the Hugh Jackman movie Kate and Leopold got more than this was released in 2001.

The last Meg Ryan starrer movie that received favorable reviews was 1998’s You’ve Got Mail in which she starred alongside Tom Hanks with whom she has made quite a few movies. Ever since then, things have not been too well for the actress. Hopefully, the audience will like the movie better than the critics.

Meg Ryan’s Decision to Return to a Romance Film

meg ryan and tom hanks in sleepless in seattle
Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle

It comes as a given that after such a long hiatus one would seek their comfort zone when they go back to work. However, it was equally challenging for Meg Ryan to return to a rom-com because acting was not her only responsibility for this movie. She would have to be present on both sides of the camera. While this is not unheard of, it is also not too common.

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During an interview (via NPR), Ryan explained her decision to make a comeback to the romance genre, saying:

“I feel like this is really a love story with romantic comedy elements. You know, it has banter, has some of those things, but then it takes turns I think you might not necessarily expect. There were a lot of challenges in it that appealed to me.”

One of Meg Ryan’s biggest concerns was sending the ex-lovers back in time. The fact that she had a small budget for the movie was also an obstacle that she was willing to overcome and thankfully, so was her co-star David Duchovny.

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