GAY FILM REVIEWS BY MICHAEL D. KLEMM
Unrated 95 minutes
Kids Are Alright
Mr. Right (2009) is a mixed, but mostly charming, British import about a group of gay pals, their lady friend, and the problems each faces in their relationships. Fade in on Louise (Georgia Zaris), who is telling her computer dating service that the man they found for her, Paul (Jeremy Edwards), was perfect in every way except that he wasn't straight.
|Louise's warning not to let your beau meet your gay friends segues into an introduction of the cast. Her best friend, Alex (Luke de Woolfson) works for a catering company and aspires to be an actor. He lives with Harry (James Lance), a television producer for a Trading Spaces-styled home improvement show, and they just celebrated their first anniversary. Tom (David Morris) is a rich and respected artist with everything including a kept man. His hunky boyfriend, Lars (Benjamin Hart) is in it for the money and openly whores around. William (Rocky Marshall) is a former rugby star who deals in antiques. He is dating Lawrence (Leon Ockenden), an actor who plays a nurse on a popular television medical drama.|
William has a 9 year old daughter, Georgina (Maddie Planer), from a short-lived marriage. He has custody because her mother was killed in a car crash two years earlier. Georgina is needy, afraid of losing another parent, and is jealous of her father's new boyfriend. Alex is an eternal optimist who comically tries to spin all of his acting failures into positives. Lars has eyes for Harry - who notices but tries not to flirt back. At Tom's request, Harry hires Lars as a carpenter on his television show and there is almost immediate sexual tension.
|The film's centerpiece is an expertly executed dinner party sequence in which everyone's relationships implode. Louise shows up first with Paul, and tells the hosts that Paul has "never met gay people before and he's fascinated." William and Lawrence arrive, and it turns out that Lawrence used to date Alex's ex. The awkward silences after Alex and Lawrence snipe at each other are priceless. Lars flirts with both Harry and Lawrence, and it isn't long before the tensions between everyone comes to a boil. Soon there is vitriol like you haven't seen since The Boys In The Band. "That dinner!" Paul says to Louise later in bed, "People would pay to see that on stage."|
|There is much of interest in Mr. Right, but first time directors, David and his sister Jacqui Morris, make a lot of wrong storytelling decisions. Much of it is told using too much cinematic shorthand. The exposition scenes fly by too fast for the audience to truly get to know the characters. Having someone ask William "How's George?" when we haven't yet met Georgina is just confusing; it made me think that Lawrence's name was George. Louise's narration, which seemed to establish her as the main character, disappears five minutes into the film and she becomes a minor figure. There are also way too many musical interludes, and many scenes that were worth developing are reduced to wordless clips in the accompanying montages. The film begins to hit its stride at the party, however, and the last act (aside from a few more intrusions by melodious montages) becomes quite compelling. In fact, the film ends just as it is really getting interesting.|
|Much of Mr. Right is quite funny. There is a running gag, which ties in with the opening sequence, wherein Louise keeps seeing signs that her perfect hunky boyfriend might really be gay. Despite his bedroom screaming "straight" with trophies, sports posters and a huge fraternity banner over the bed, her suspicions grow when she sees that he also keeps scented candles. The day to day production woes of Harry's television show add a lot of comic fodder, as does young Georgina's pranks and her morbid fascination with historical figures who were executed. I also liked when Tom explained to an art dealer how he used Pointilism and all the colors of the rainbow in his painting of daVinci. There is also a hilarious bit where Alex finally lands a starring role in a one man stage play about the conroversial 18th century scholar, Thomas Robert Malthus. Alex has no idea that Malthus once proposed sterilizing the poor to control population and is stunned when his show is picketed nightly, as being a fascist play, by anti-Nazi groups.|
|Refreshingly, everyone is out of the closet and there are no coming out crises plaguing the cast (except maybe for Paul). There is humorous early scene where Harry and Alex have an awkward dinner with Harry's mother. She has no problems with her son being "that way," she just doesn't like her son's choice of partner. He could have had Tom or William. And what is it you do again? Overplaying the part of the disappointed mother, she couldn't possibly be more condenscending. William is having way more difficulties being a single parent than he is with his sexuality. Georgina isn't troubled by her father being gay; she even beats up a boy at the playground for calling her Dad a fag. She is, like any child probably would be, scared of her parent dating. There is a beautiful scene where William assures his daughter that she is the most important thing in his life, while trying to explain that adults sometimes get lonely. His relationship with Lawrence suffers in the process and this is the film's most compelling story arc.|
|For a film of this nature, there isn't much sex on display and, for a change, the movie is not beefcake-driven. The cast is attractive and likable and everyone does a fine job with the material. Unlike some Brit flicks, this one doesn't need subtitles. And even though I griped about all the musical interludes, I will concede that most of the music choices are unusual and definitely not the usual bouncy club tunes. This is a very intelligent film that, with a trip back to the ediiting room and some tweaking, could have been a small masterpiece. Even so, Mr. Right is mostly satisfying and would make a good date movie.|