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At last: a studio-quality gay romance
on 19 October 2013
Anyone who's hungry for a feel-good, studio-quality gay romance - with crisp photography, classy sets, clear sound, attractive actors with celebrity stubble, hot bods, pure hearts, and plenty of obstacles for true love to overcome - is going to love this movie. There are no others like it. Even lesbians are pretty well represented, within the movie's Hollywood-like straight-acting constraints. It's certainly as good and as believable as any straight romance Hollywood ever made. Even straight people might like it, because there's a very cute child, the gays are wonderfully domestic and straight-acting, and true love is true love regardless of gender.
The fact that this movie's objective - equal treatment of gay married couples under US immigration law - had, to the whole world's amazement, already been achieved by the time the DVD was released doesn't compromise its effectiveness as much as it could have. It really is a very romantic drama much more than an appeal for justice, so while the appeal already sounds dated it's a small enough part of the movie that it's easy to overlook.
For gay men like me, though, and others who aren't particularly romantic, this movie is not so great. The problem is the screenplay, written by David W. Ross, who also stars as Jack.
Nearly every point on which the highly melodramatic story turns is weak at best, and often ludicrous: Drag-racing taxis on a rainy Manhattan street at night? Jack suddenly losing his work visa after 20 steadily productive years in the US? Why? His lawyer says it's "because of 9/11"? Was every gainfully-employed British WASP deported ten years after 9/11? It makes no sense.
And after all those years of obviously successful employment (just look at his fabulous Manhattan loft apartment!), why doesn't he already HAVE a green card, or even citizenship? That's just the beginning; the contrived, nonsensical crises, one after another, are just too absurd to swallow. It's also hard to sympathize with affluent people who repeatedly make stupid choices.
But this is Hollywood (or might as well be). So while I found the movie mostly annoying (a few dynamite turns by Jamie-Lynn Sigler are the only exceptions), I strongly recommend it to my less cynical and more romantically-inclined brothers who've been waiting an unfairly long time for a movie just like this.