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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Queer Blog-a-Thon: The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

Fellow Big Brother Trifecta member QTA is hosting his first Queer Film Blog-a-Thon today! So here's my entry, and check here for musings on other great Queer Cinema.

So, I could have talked about some great queer films that landed on the Top 10's of their year (Brokeback Mountain, All About My Mother, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Prescilla Queen of the Desert, The History Boys, The Crying Game, etc) but instead, I want to talk about the Gay RomCom. Not like the Rock Hudson/Doris Day screwball comedies (although the homage Down With Love was pretty gay and incidentally, had two gay actors (David Hyde Pierce and Sarah Paulson) as sidekicks) but a good boy meets boy, ridiculous obstacles keep them apart until finally boy and boy overcome obstacles (themselves, other boyfriends, work, geography, glasses) and they fall in love and live happily ever after. That kind of romantic comedy. I want a good old fashioned romantic comedy fluff piece that are perfect to re-watch on rainy sunday afternoons as I eat bon bons under a big blanket.

And there hasn't been a good gay romantic comedy in a while. On the other hand, there hasn't been a good romantic comedy, gay or straight, in a while (was the last good one... Under the Tuscan Sun? The Wedding Planner? Pretty Woman?) period. There are some British favorites, like Get Real or Beautiful Thing, but they are more coming out stories than anything. I want pure glossy fluff and while there are some direct-to-video stuff or the ones that make the festival circuit, the last two that I can think of that got some actual theatrical release were Billy Hollywood's Screen Kiss, with a pre-Will & Grace's Sean Hayes and The Broken Hearts Club, with a ton of TV stars and would-become TV stars.

The Broken Hearts Club was Greg Berlanti's first movie, post Dawson's Creek and since then, he's become one of the best TV producers around, creating one of my favorite shows of all time, Everwood, as well as Jack & Bobby and currently, the gay friendly Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money. At the time, the most famous actor involved in The Broken Hearts Club was probably Timothy Olyphant (Go and who has done Deadwood since), John Mahoney (Frasier) and Dean Cain but since then, a platinum blond Zach Braff has gone onto Scrubs and Garden State and fame and tabloids. There was also Andrew Keeghan who never really made it out of those teen comedy years, Nia Long who still is deserving a great vehicle to showcase her talents, my fave Christopher Wiehl as J. Crew Guy who has since played gay again on the short-lived-but-deserved-much-longer Love Monkey. Plus Mary McCormack, Matt McGrath and Justin Theroux diverting from their usual heavier fare (well, at least before Theroux did the Charlie's Angels sequel... shudder).

It was a sweet romantic comedy about the lives and loves of a group of guys living in Los Angeles who were forced by John Mahoney to join a baseball team and while the movie was nothing spectacular, it had the warm hearted feeling of any general romantic comedy, only with all hot men from recognizable actors whom for the most part, have not have their careers damaged (well, Andrew Keeghan disappeared but did we really think he would live beyond the teen comedy years?). Plus, in the greatest sign of acceptance, we got the good natured run-of-the-mill romantic comedy without any fuss, majorly damaged characters, truly depressing slit-your-wrist drama and almost got something mainstream and wholesome. If that's not progress? I don't know what is. It's like the Starbucks of cinema. We're kinda horrified when they move into the neighbourhood but we also know that means gentrification has arrived and our property value will be going up. Plus who doesn't love a good frappucino every once in a while? And as a Gay Romantic Comedy, it was one of the last few ones that left the sweetest taste, hitting all the perfect manipulative notes that I so want from these run-of-the-mill RomComs. However, why haven't there more? Have I missed any? Any recommendations? What else is Bon Bonworthy?

Some other decent ones I can think of offhand are All Over The Guy, Jeffrey, and Trick but none have felt as mainstream Rom Gom goodness as The Broken Hearts Club.

1 comment:

jakey said...

I love this movie ... the fact that there's such a wide variety of characters means that you don't have to necessarily relate to everyone to enjoy it. And I'm such a sucker for the part when Howie finally tells Marshall how he feels about him.

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