I’ve always been hit-and-miss with writer/director Andrew Fleming’s work (The Craft, Dick, Threesome, Barefoot, and the remake of The In-Laws). I kind of liked when he teamed up with one of the underrated comedic geniuses around — Steve Coogan — in Hamlet 2. Now they’re back with this film, which I’m surprised is only playing at the Digital Gym. And it might not be there for long, so I suggest you get there soon. It’s a terrific comedy.
The story seems like something you’ve seen before. A child appears on a couple’s doorstep and they have to take care of him. The couple in this is gay and have been bickering with each other for the last 10 years. Erasmus (Coogan) is a famous TV chef, and Paul (Rudd) is the producer/editor of his show. When Erasmus’ son gets arrested, he sends grandchild Angel/Bill (Jack Gore) to seek out his grandfather. With an address and money, he shows up while Erasmus is entertaining a big crowd at a dinner party.
I read this has been a passion project Fleming has worked on for 10 years, and just as Love, Simon was a great teen comedy/coming-of-age story with a gay character….this is a fun romantic comedy with a gay couple. Fleming should really be proud of this, because it’s a smartly made film. Now, it might get a little crass for some people. But it’s so rare to see a comedy with so many jokes that work. It’s also refreshing to have such brilliant subtle things going on that work. It helps that there’s chemistry between the two leads, too.
Rudd and Coogan were both in Our Idiot Brother, and that’s an example of what bothers me about how films are distributed. That movie was probably easier to get wide distribution because of the various stars, and how the trailers could just show a doofus character, and everyone flocks to it. It had a few funny scenes but wasn’t great. This movie will probably make 1/10th of what that movie made, and it’s so much better.
Fleming is gay, and has co-parented a child with another man, but I can’t imagine him having to have had to deal with any of the scenarios featured here (well, aside from a child’s love of Taco Bell). And it’s not just wacky comedy that’s thrown in. There are many heartwarming moments that felt authentic. It’s also refreshing that they didn’t get preachy about same-sex couples. In fact, some of the things helped add to the comedy. For example, a social service worker (Allison Brie) isn’t bothered by them being gay, just the fact that they leave porn out that the child can easily find. A teacher at school isn’t bothered by them being a couple, but the things the boy has said during a reporter. And when the guy in jail is talking to Erasmus on the phone and things get heated, Erasmus comments on his male partner. The man doesn’t seemed the least bit phased by that bit of information, which throws Erasmus for a bit of a loop, and a few seconds of awkward silence. It was a sublime moment.
When it came to the humor though, there were some big time laughs. There’s a sex scene that might be the funniest I’ve seen on screen in 10 years. I won’t spoil it, but it involves a bear skin rug and Kevin Costner movies. A lazy screenwriter would’ve ruined it, having the young boy walking in on the two guys. The way it was done here was just brilliant.
The landscapes of Sante Fe are beautiful to look at, as well as the mansion they live in.
My wife and I both had a blast watching a screener of it a few hours before heading out to a party and fireworks on the 4th of July. I’m guessing we will have had more fun spending an hour and a half with those characters then we will tonight.
Go catch this movie while you still can. You won’t regret it.
4 stars out of 5.