THREE TO TANGO
Three To Tango is written by Rodney Patrick Vaccaro and Aline
Brosh McKenna, and directed by Damon Santostefano, all relative newcomers.
It tells the story of a young architect named Oscar Novak (Perry), who,
along with his business partner, Peter Steinberg (Oliver Platt), secures
a lucrative job restoring a famous structure in Chicago for wealthy businessman
Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott). Through one of those ridiculous movie
misunderstandings, Charles gets the idea that Oscar is gay, and asks him
to spy on his extramarital lover, artist Amy Post (the boyish Campbell).
Charles, a jealous lover, is perpetually afraid that one of Amy's many ex-boyfriends
might steal her away, but he reasons that since Oscar is gay, he needn't
fear any hanky-panky between the two. And because Oscar and Peter really
need this job, Oscar decides to go along.
When Oscar and Amy first meet, they sense a strong mutual attraction,
and spend a terrible but romantic evening together. She's disappointed when
Charles tells her he's gay, but soon she becomes his best friend, confiding
in him in a way only girlfriends do. She even introduces him to her female
friends, who proceed to tell him all their sexy secrets, comfortably assured
that he's a homosexual. So Oscar, plagued with sexual frustration, is forced
to maintain this charade for the sake of Peter (who actually is gay)
and so he can continue to see Amy without fear of reprisal from Charles.
I have to admit that there is good connection here between Perry and
Campbell. Especially early in their relationship, there is an easy quality
about both of them, and they play off each other beautifully. But as things
deepen and their connection becomes more close to something romantic, it
becomes unbearably pretentious. McDermott, who was fun as Fish in Jodie
Foster's Home For The Holidays, struggles to be villanous as Charles.
As cute and impulsive as Amy is described, Campbell doesn't really make
us fall for her the way we need to in order to believe she'd be at the center
of this romantic tug of war. And as I mentioned, Perry is indistinguishable
from his Chandler character in Friends, which he seems to have down.
A mediocre comedy at best, Three To Tango has hits and misses (one hit is the liberal use of big band/swing music throughout the soundtrack), but I feel gays would be offended by its clichéd depiction of their lifestyle and tastes. Vaccaro's screenwriting is steeped in TV sitcom sensibilities, and director Santostefano doesn't look or ask for anything new from his actors. If I had wanted a 90-minute episode of Friends, I would've asked for one. ***
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