All Over The Guy
A while ago I wrote to Cerisaye despairing in my quest to find the perfect gay movie. I wasnít asking for much: good writing, mainstream quality cinematography, cute leads who can actually act, reasonable plot and some hot gay content the same as youíd get in an average heterosexual film.
I despair no longer. This is it: the perfect gay movie. This is a perfect movie gay or straight.
Based on a screenplay from the lead Dan Bucatinsky, this is a truly funny, heart-wrenching film.
Jackie meets Brett (played with scarily good acting by Adam Goldberg). They try to get their respective gay best friends, Tom and Eli, together. Eli (Bucatinsky) is a cute Jewish boy looking desperately for love. Tom (drop dead gorgeous Richard Ruccolo) is commitment-phobic.
The story begins at the end of the relationship with Tom at AA and Eli awaiting the results on an HIV test. They start to tell their stories, Tom to a very sexy fellow member of AA, Eli to the receptionist at the clinic. Itís not an auspicious start.
Tom has spent his life avoiding commitment, not because of some over the top abuse-type trauma in his past, but because of an unremitting ordinariness of his parentsí hideous marriage. Watch the country club scene and I defy you not to be ten again, listening to your parents breaking you apart. Buccoloís acting in this scene made me cry.
The feeling are so intense and so real throughout the movie that you wonder other writers canít get relationships right like this. Tom really does want Eli and keeps returning to him, addicted. As soon as Eli shows any affection, Tom runs again. Sometimes Eliís chasing Tom, sometimes itís Tom making phonecalls that arenít returned.
So, after a particularly bad fight, they come to a parting of the ways and it seems everything is over. Tom goes into AA, Eli to the clinic. But the whole story has been played out with Jackie and Brettís imminent wedding. Tom and Eli are best men and canít help but have to meet again.
One more chance to get it right.
I watched this movie the night it came then couldnít wait to get home and watch it again the next night.
This is the one weíve all be waiting for. May it be the first of many.
A romantic comedy with depth, fully developed characters, excellent performances, humour, snappy dialogue and real emotions.† Yeah, I really liked this one!† Slick, clever, well put together and charming.† Also surprisingly forthright for its genre.
Eli (Dan Bukatinsky) is an anally uptight gay boy waiting in a clinic for an HIV test.† Tom (Richard Ruccolo), an alcoholic Special Needs teacher attending his first AA meeting.† Eli is a nerdy skinny guy in glasses.† Tom an athletic looking hunk of All American prime male.
Each tells his story to a sympathetic listener.† Eli to the ballsy older woman behind the desk at the clinic, Tom to his AA counsellor after the meeting.
They met on a blind date set up by Tomís best friend Jackie, who meets a guy in a furniture store (heís a designer) sheís attracted to.† Brett is straight but very gay friendly.† Eli happens to be his best friend.†
The date is a disaster.† Eli & Tom are just too different.† The awkwardness of these set-ups is perfectly captured.† You FEEL the mutual discomfort, struggle to make conversation, desperation.† Eli reveals himself as hopelessly romantic, while Tom is a cynical pessimist.† Eliís favourite film is <i>Gone With The Wind</i>.† Tom has never even seen it.† Though he admits to watching <i>Fame</i> 15 times.†
And yet, thereís no denying attraction.† Though they both fight it.† But we know where this is going.† Or so we think,† But itís not so easy to predict.
The troubled gay relationship is paralleled with the progress of Jackie & Brettís romance.† Relationships are hard work whether gay or straight, romantic or family.
Both Tom & Eli have dysfunctional parents who really messed them up. They bond over shared reminiscences of family awfulness their adult selves are trying really hard to overcome.† Self-hate is a problem for both Eli & Tom but (for once) itís not about being gay.† When their guard is down the two get on well together, but most of the time theyíre emotionally holding each other at armís length.
Tom & Eli between them do everything they can to wreck any chance their relationship has to work, yet we know really theyíre made for each other if only theyíd realise it and stop pushing the other away.† Eli appears a nervous wreck but really itís apparently laid back Tom who has the biggest problems.† His Martini-swilling parents set up a self-destructive pattern of behaviour.
This is a film about love, with little sex or nudity.† Character based, it shows rather than tells and doesnít knock you over the head with its message.† If you put together the pieces it all fits really well.† Eli wants the man of his dreams and Tom to acknowledge heís ready for real intimacy not just empty sex, to admit he doesnít want to be alone anymore.
Eliís habit of self-analysis instilled by his psychologist mother (memorably played by Andrea Martin) makes him intuitive.† He wants to understand Tom, to help him, and that makes his character so attractive though at first I found him annoying.† You can see why Tom wants him so bad.†
Thereís a funny cameo from Lisa Kudrow as a hopeless voiceover actress and Christina Ricci plays Eliís sister.
I highly recommend this movie.† Itís really very moving and has lots of good points to make about love, the ways we relate to each other, how we see ourselves and what we need to be happy.