Three to Tango

Beauty and the beast. Oscar and Amy (Perry and Campbell) try to avoid romantic entanglements. As if...
dir Damon Santostefano
scr Rodney Vaccaro, Aline Broch McKenna
with Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Oliver Platt, Dylan McDermott, Cylk Cozart, Bob Balaban, Rick Gomez, Patrick Van Horn, David Ramsey, Deborah Rush, Kelly Rowan, John C McGinley
Warners 99/US 2 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
One of those romantic comedy films that plays like an extended sitcom (without the laugh track), Three to Tango is a bit of amusing fluff. The gimmicky, contrived storyline is smoothed over by charming performances ... and there are just enough good lines to keep us laughing until the closing credits.

Oscar (Perry) is a Chicago architect working with his partner Peter (Platt) to get a seriously important job building an arts centre for young tycoon Charles Newman (McDermott). The jealous Charles erroneously thinks Oscar is gay, so he asks him to keep an eye on his lovely mistress Amy (Campbell). Of course, Amy and Oscar are soul mates (sigh!), but Oscar can't tell her he's really straight, because that would jeopardise his and Peter's career. Hilarity ensues.

While there's something vaguely wrong with the whole premise, the plot's real problems centre on a string of outlandish coincidences that throw Oscar and Amy together again and again, with increasingly improbable results. This is so irritating that it's hard to relax and just enjoy the film for what it is: an empty-headed romcom. Fortunately, Perry and Campbell are effortlessly entertaining, and the supporting cast is colourful and funny. McDermott does his best with his unnecessarily villainous role (wouldn't the whole thing be more interesting if he was a nice guy?). And newcomer Santostefano at least keeps things moving, using the Chicago setting nicely. Although he completely misses the chance to have fun with the film's title.

[12--themes, language] 5.Jun.00
US release 22.Oct.99; UK release 30.Jun.00

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"** A 'boss' asks someone he assumes is gay to look after his girlfriend and unsurprisingly they fall in love. She reveals her innermost thoughts (which aren't much) and he acts even campier than usual. It has some silly laughs in the Friends mould of humour but is entirely predictable. It seems to be another Hollywood attempt to cash in on the gay genre but I'm not sure whether people that way inclined would find it embarrassing or funny." --Gawain M, Filmnet, Melbourne.

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall