|All Over the Guy
Sisterly support. Ricci offers Bucatinsky some advice on love...
dir Julie Davis
scr Dan Bucatinsky
with Dan Bucatinsky, Richard Ruccolo, Adam Goldberg, Sasha Alexander, Doris Roberts, Christina Ricci, Andrea Martin, Tony Abatemarco, Joanna Kerns, Nicholas Surovy, Michael Harris, Lisa Kudrow
release US 10.Aug.01; UK LLGFF Apr.02
The gay best friends, usually relegated to side comic characters, take centre stage here. The result is a better than average comedy that keeps us laughing through the usual romantic hijinks. Lightning strikes when Brett and Jackie (Goldberg and Alexander) meet, and when they realise that they each have a gay best friend they set up a blind date. Brett's buddy is Eli (Bucatinsky), a meticulous wannabe journalist, while Jackie's pal is Tom (Ruccolo), a hunky teacher recovering from alcoholism. They don't exactly get along, but there is a spark that keeps drawing them back together ... then sending them running in opposite directions. Their freaky childhoods have something to do with this--Eli's parents (Martin and Abatemarco) are astonishingly frank, touchy-feely liberals; Tom's (Kerns and Surovy) are from the repressed middle class.
The film's sharp script and energetic cast keep things moving breezily, engaging us with humour and romance along the way. Performances are natural and the characters are easy to identify with, all played naturally by the cast without any goofy comic overacting. The four leads are excellent, and they benefit from veterans in small side roles--Martin and Kearns are terrific, as are Roberts as a chatty clinic receptionist and Ricci as Eli's equally neurotic sister, plus a wacky cameo from Kudrow. This is very tight filmmaking--briskly directed, colourful and just plain fun to watch. Where it struggles is in the requirements of a rom-com, that repetitive on-and-off thing that gets tiring because we all know they'll come together in the end, won't they? They always do. And while this film isn't terribly original in the way it handles the whole genre, it at least gets us there in an intelligent and often hilarious way.
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