Romance films

All the Way Single Review – Netflix’s First Gay Christmas Romcom | Romance movies


WWhen the likable 2018 teen film Love, Simon hit audiences on an unprecedented scale, a common retort was that it wasn’t quite weird quite. YA’s brilliant story of a suburban teenager with white bread coming to terms with his sexuality was chosen for his sanitized worldview of PG-13 and his storytelling according to the books, playing it a bit too straightforward for some. But it was the film’s sweet vanilla flavor that made it such a drastic step, dragging a typically told story in the dark of arthouse into the bright lights of the multiplex, giving gay teens something so tall and brash than many, many, many straight-biased high school movies they’d grown up on. Because, for some, the fight for fundamental rights should also include the fight for the right to be fundamental.

Since then, there have been fewer open floodgates and a slower runoff for more mainstream LGBT content, from the cozy spinoff series Love, Simon Love, Victor to Kristen Stewart’s Christmas romantic comedy, The Happiest Season. . The latter came as Hallmark and Lifetime decided to include gay characters as protagonists in their festive dish, rather than sassy confidants, with last year’s The Christmas Setup and The Christmas House (a sequel also landing this this month). Inevitably, Netflix has now done its part with Single All the Way, a harmless addition to its ever-expanding container of half-paid Christmas content that stands out only for its diversity.

Peter (Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie) prepares to enjoy his first Christmas with a boyfriend, who has unexpectedly agreed to join him in New Hampshire to see his family. But Peter’s best friend Nick (newcomer Philemon Chambers) finds out that her new man lied to her, forgetting to share the little detail of her heterosexual marriage. Peter is devastated but determined not to be the only person at the table so he brings Nick back with him. He concocts a lie, that he and Nick are now a couple, but the facade soon falls when his mother (Kathy Najimy) sets him up with a handsome local trainer (Luke Macfarlane) instead. But as the two start dating, the family becomes focused on trying to forge a real relationship between Peter and Nick.

The overwhelming conventionality of Single All the Way is a bit of the point here, a heartwarming movie by numbers designed to appease rather than surprise. Tony award-winning theater director Michael Mayer has created a competent background watch that does what it needs to do without really trying to do anything else, passable at a basic level but without a certain sparkle. . Perhaps a different duo could have helped in that regard, as the lived-in chemistry these two need to convince us are nowhere to be found, which makes the pair hard to buy as best friends and impossible to believe in. as a couple. Chambers is very charming, with a confidence that belies his inexperience, but Uriah is stuck in wide-eyed sitcom mode, emphasizing every little moment and never softening into anything that looks like a real person in it. her intimate moments with her competing love interests. What should have been a steal from the stage of drunken Aunt Jennifer Coolidge, who just received her best reviews yet for The White Lotus, is also sadly ineffective, with Chad Hodge’s script not giving her real zingers and she is therefore stuck in a lazy warm-up mode, an inordinate distraction more than anything.

This is pure, mass market Christmas cookie cutter tricks that are only made vaguely interesting by very short bursts due to its weirdness. The protagonist’s sexuality and gender transform what can often be a rather sexist party movie trope, of the one cosmopolitan woman who works hard, ultimately deciding that living in a small town baking cookies for a man is the best life, into something more progressive. Queer characters are generally associated with city life, so seeing a gay man tempted by the lure of a calmer family future is somewhat unconventional on film, to say the least. It’s also refreshing to see a gay movie where coming out is not the focal point of the conflict and where family members all automatically accept, a normal thing for many gay people that is rarely shown on screen. . But these are small victories.

Because what Single All the Way does best in the end is show us that a gay Christmas movie can be just as overused as a straight movie. We get the same rather than improve.