thatcow

"I hate myself, I think"

This movie starts off poorly for me. The voiceover intro gives us background of our two co-star artists, Missy (Cynthia Nixon) and Spaz (Andy Dick), who've gone to school together and now live in New York. Missy is het, Spaz is gay, but they're both too artsy and have that worldly cynical way to think about committed relationships. Once past all the talking of the voiceover, we get to listen to them talking to each other for some time, before anyone else really makes an appearance. There's no sign of conflict or tension about as long as they keep talking, which feels like the entire first act.

I suppose I should thank them for preparing me for the rest of the film, which is mostly a lot more talking. The quality of talk goes on as it becomes less place-setting, and more story-oriented. Aside from playing up Missy's popularity with the hip crowd, we meet Suit, the married man Missy has been having an affair with. And we also meet hunky Brat, Spaz' "regular" guy. Both Missy and Spaz seem content with their arrangements, but when Brat expresses some hetero urges, Spaz sets him up with Missy to get it out of his system. Naturally, this turns out to be the mistake that triggers the rest of the film for they quite surprisingly end up digging each other more than their respective conveniences.

All the talking is the perfect tip-off that what we're watching is adapted from a play. If that wasn't enough, the representative character names put it to rest. I think it makes a fine play, full of themes of identity and finding what you really want. The material could even make a good film, but this isn't it. Tinkering is almost required in these transformations, and while it seems like some bits were expanded, there wasn't much ambition to it. The character names for one, simply don't translate well - if they'd just left out Suit, it might be possible not to notice, but here they come off as cutesy and unrealistic - the tone doesn't match. On stage with stylized sets, you can have stylized names like that, but not here.

It's not all bad. Some of the individual scenes are great viewing. I've even said before that I like Andy Dick as a gay man. Cynthia Nixon seems lost occasionally, quite unlike her role in Sex And The City. I'm not sure whether to pin this on her or the director - these are moments of character choices that require a strong choice, but no choice has been made.

There's a bit of slapdash effort about the film. The screenplay needed work and a broader scope. The music even ends before the credits do. The DVD doesn't even have a menu, and, at least the edition I watched, forced a barrage of commercials down my throat at the start. I almost feel like this one pushed, in assembly-line fashion, from production to distribution, without a care to doing it right.

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