I Think I Do


          Okay, I'll make another confession. I'm a sucker for "reunion"
  movies since I first saw John Sayles' wonderful
THE RETURN OF THE
  SECAUCUS SEVEN at the Coolidge Corner Theater around 1980 in Boston.
  Gve me a group who had shared something special and have come
  together for some reason and I'm there. When I got a VCR, one of the
  first films I ever taped (and practically memorized) was
THE BIG CHILL.
  (It has something to do with my college years, but that's best left to me
  and a therapist!) All this is a roundabout way of saying I sort of liked
  
I THINK I DO, the first film from writer- director Brian Sloan.

          Yes, it's a low-budget film and none of the performers will win
  Oscars for their performances, but it does have it's charms. Sloan is
  attempting to make a contemporary screwball comedy. That's a
  commendable thing, although screwball comedies reached their peak
  in the 1930s. More recent attempts have generally fallen flat and except
  for Peter Bogdanovich's
WHAT'S UP, DOC? (1972), which was more
  homage than the real thing, few have even come close. I wish I could
  report that Sloan has, but this is a near-miss. He's in the ballpark, but
  his film lacks the strong script required. To extend the baseball
  metaphor, he's hit a double when he really needed a home run.

          The setup is a bit slow and confusing. The audience first meets the
  characters as college students living together in off-campus housing.
  There are various couplings and trying to figure out who's who and
  with whom is a bit confusing. What does become clear is that openly
  gay Bob (Alexis Arquette) has a crush on his straight roommate Brendan
  (Christian Maelen). Cut to five years later when two of the roommates
  (Lauren Velez and Jamie Harrold) are getting married and everyone
  gathers for the wedding. Bob is now a successful writer for a soap opera
  and is romantically involved with the show's resident stud (Tuc Watkins).
  Several of the women hope to rekindle college love affairs, particularly
  Sara (Marianne Hagan) who once had a fling with Brendan. As is typical
  in screwball comedies, mix-ups ensue; the bride isn't sure she wants
  to go through with the wedding. Bob's new boyfriend presses him for
  a commitment and Brendan's presence leads to surprising confessions.

  I won't say more so as not to ruin the surprises—and to Sloan's credit,
  there are one or two. What makes the film so enjoyable is the cast.
  Lauren Velez is hilarious as the
laissez faire bride-to-be, more concerned
  with annoying her mother, played with efficiency by Patricia Mauceri,
  than with her nuptials. Marni Nixon -- yes THE Marni Nixon who provided
  the singing voice for Natalie Wood in
WEST SIDE STORY and Audrey
  Hepburn in
MY FAIR LADY -- shows up as a colorful party guest, but
  unfortunately, is miscast. Faring better are Alexis Arquette, who is
  sweetly entertaining in the leading role of Bob and Christian Maelen
  who looks right, but acts a little stiffly in the pivotal part of Brendan.
  By far, the best performance is that of Tuc Watkins as the aging
  daytime hunk. Fans of ABC's daytime dramas might recall Watkins for
  his portrayals of villains on both
ONE LIFE TO LIVE and on
   GENERAL HOSPITAL and here he skewers his image. He etches a fine
  portrait of an aging actor, aware of the limitations of his talents but
  one who enjoys the perks of stardom. The only quibble with Sloan's
  story I have is that in real-life such a popular actor probably wouldn't
  launt his homosexuality so openly in front of fans.

          If you ask me whether or not I would recommend the film,
  well, I think I do.

                                  

                                          Rating:     C+
© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.