Toronto
2 min

The new guy

Witty but harmless

WHEN HARRY MET HARRY. Dan Bucatinsky and Richard Ruccolo star in the latest feel-good Hollywood homo flick. Credit: Xtra files

When Harry Met Sally goes homo in the new gay date movie All Over The Guy.



You know the drill by now: Boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy back, all wrapped up neatly in 90 well-paced, smoothly-acted, glossily-packaged minutes.



The boys this time are insecure Eli (Dan Bucatinsky, who adapted the story from his stage play) and swarthy Tom (Richard Ruccolo, from TV’s Two Guys And A Girl), two lonely LA gay men who both happen to have straight best friends. When those friends, Jackie (Sasha Alexander) and Brett (Adam Goldberg) begin their own romance, the attempt to spread the bliss by fixing up Eli and Tom.



The two are hardly a match made in heaven: Eli’s a finicky, neurotic sci-fi geek looking for a man to watch X-Files with, while Tom is a commitment-phobic chain smoker with alcoholic tendencies (but a great body). The date is a disaster, but circumstances (and the complete lack of any other gay characters in the film) conspire to reunite the pair until they realize they belong together.



Predictable, and blandly directed by Julie Davis, All Over The Guy nevertheless skates by on the charm of its ensemble cast, witty dialogue and a host of celebrity cameos. Executive producer Don Roos directed the brilliant The Opposite Of Sex and he’s called on former leading ladies Lisa Kudrow and Christina Ricci to add some star wattage, which they dutifully, if unnecessarily, do.



Andrea Martin is reliably hilarious as Eli’s over-processing shrink mother (who insists on being called “doctor” by her children) while Doris Roberts (Eveybody Loves Raymond) is memorably salty as an STD clinic receptionist.



As Eli and Tom, Bucatinsky and Ruccolo manage to keep their characters mostly cliché-free. Their dislocation from gay life (Bucatinsky’s play focussed on a straight couple and the gender switch was made for the film) works because we’re spared the stereotypes that inevitably arise whenever a group of gay men are depicted on screen (see The Broken Hearts League). But it’s also hard to believe that either man would ever look twice at the other, let alone stick around long enough to start a relationship.



Meanwhile, their happily coupling friends Alexander and Goldberg breezily play the Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant roles from Four Weddings And A Funeral, now squished down to sub-plot status.



The clever dialogue is delivered in rapid-fire banter, but betrays its stage origins by being too polished and constructed for these supposedly average people to be saying off-the-cuff.



Not as good as Jeffrey but better than Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss, All Over The Guy is already being developed into a TV sitcom. That’s the kind of forgettable, harmless film it is.



All Over They Guy opens Fri, Aug 24.