| 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.
|© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.