(director/writer: Nicholas Stoller; screenwriter: Billy Eichner; cinematographer: Brandon Trost; editor: Daniel Gabbe; music: Marc Shaiman; cast: Billy Eichner (Bobby), Gary Branum (Henry), Ts Madison (Angela), Luke Macfarlane (Aaron), Dot-Marie Jones (Cherry), Kristin Chenoweth (Herself), Monica Raymund (Tina), Miss Lawrence (Wanda), Jim Rash (Robert), Eve Lindley (Tamara), Guillermo Díaz (Edgar), Jai Rodriguez (Jason), Amanda Bearse (Anne), Debra Messing (Herself), Harvey Fierstein (Himself), Ryan Faucett (Josh), Amy Schumer (Eleanor Roosevelt), Bowen Yang (Lawrence Grape); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Nicholas Stoller/Judd Apatow/Billy Eichner; Universal Picture; 2022)
“At its best when showing off its sarcastic wit.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A boy meets on the cute boy gay mainstream romantic comedy that attempts to promote diversity and open-mindedness. It’s safely directed by Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”/”Neighbors”), following all the usual tropes for the heterosexual genre romcom, and is co-written by its star, Billy Eichner. Despite its R rating, it apes the money–making heterosexual love story comedies of recent times. It’s a moody film veering between sweetness and acerbity, that’s at its best when showing off its sarcastic wit.
Its colorful supporting cast comes mostly from the LGBTQ+ community. The film is proud that it spotlights in starring roles gay characters who rarely appear in mainstream films except in supporting roles.
The 40-year-old Manhattan residing Bobby (Billy Eichner) is a podcaster who has a deep interest in the history of gays. Nailing his dream job to be the first director of a new museum on the LGBTQ+ community, he feels good living a lively gay life as a bachelor.
Sitcom comedy bits are drawn from the museum’s squabbling over the politics at the board meetings. The board members include a funny character by Jim Rash, who calls out Honest Abe as the first bisexual president. Other board members include Miss Lawrence, Ts Madison, Dot-Marie Jones and Eve Lindley.
Bobby has a sexually active gay sex life with men he never gets involved with except for the sex. When out clubbing at night with his friend Henry (Guy Branum), they meet a shirtless, well-built jock-like lawyer, Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), who comes over to flirt with them.
Aaron and Bobby, both non-commitment types, meet again in an awkward encounter with another couple, where they fight and this arouses them to get hot. The schmaltzy background music is arranged by Marc Shaiman, the composer of When Harry Met Sally film, and offers the gay sudser the same kind of bland tunes as the hetero film. What follows for the now lovebirds are trips together to such iconic romantic film locations as Central Park.
The formulaic film, even though a gay film, follows all the same tropes as the boy meets girl films, and bored me as much as those films bored me.
But even if not a groundbreaking gay film, it paves the way for more gay mainstream films if it gets a good box-office.
It played at the Toronto Film festival
REVIEWED ON 10/8/2022 GRADE: B-