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All Over the Guy
Directed by: Julie Davis
Written by: Dan Bucatinsky
Starring: Dan Bucatinsky, Richard Ruccolo, Sasha Alexander, Adam Goldberg
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: comedy
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: lovey, quintessentially quasi-adult
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5

Plot synopsis Eli (Bucatinsky) enters the AIDS clinic and regales the receptionist with the sordid tale of his latest heartbreak: his relationship with Tom (Ruccolo), has ended and he needs to get an AIDS test before he can move on. Eli and Tom meet through their (straight) best friends, Brett (Goldberg, hairy as ever) and Jackie (Alexander). Brett and Jackie wish to knock boots sometime in the near future, and conveniently, both have single gay friends. Smell a setup, anyone? Soon Tom, an on-the-wagon/off-the-wagon alcoholic, and Eli finding themselves meeting for the first time on a blind date at a bar, where Tom drinks like a fish and Eli is repulsed. The date goes poorly, but Eli’s hunch that there is more to Tom than a strong jaw and strapping bod leads him to pursue the relationship. Eli persists (and persists and persists) until he and Tom are involved in a pseudo-relationship. With strikingly different upbringings, the men are an odd pair at best, but Brett and Jackie are determined to make rugged Tom fall in love with straight-laced Eli. Christina Ricci makes a nice cameo as Eli’s smart-mouthed sister.

Review While gay films are not my area of expertise, I certainly appreciate that Eli and Tom are not presented as the stereotypically flaming, eccentric homos of the sort favored by network TV and mainstream Hollywood movies. They are men with real lives and real histories, and are not simply trolling for random sex. While Eli is more ready for love than rough-around-the-edges Tom, their relationship grows and detours with the help of their friends. Though the relationship seems to occur largely because Brett and Jackie are pushing them together, Tom and Eli make a charming couple. Their dissimilarities will make you root for them, all the while wondering what they see in each other, because the film portrays the relationship in a strikingly different manner than typical movie romances. Instead of spelling out all the reasons that Tom and Eli should be together, the focus is on their differences and the hardships they will inevitably face. Much more interesting than the "Oh! You’re gay? Me too! Let’s hook up!" connections that are usually contrived for television and film. Although the convenience of Brett and Jackie both having single, slightly compatible, gay friends had me groaning, their relationship is portrayed in as pure and raw a manner as any traditional, "straight" romantic comedy. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Eli and Tom had other significant parts of their lives—messed up parents, drinking problems, etc. Bucatinsky is lovable as Eli, and I’d certainly rent the film again if only to stare at the adorable Ruccolo. However, I could have done without the best friends. Jackie is a total fag hag and severely unlikable, and Brett is a pointless addition to the film. That said, the true focus lies on Eli and Tom and the notion of opposites attracting. Straight and gay couples alike can relate to the relationship matters presented in All Over the Guy. Hollywood is notorious for either outright ignoring gay relationships, or trivializing them to death, making this flick a refreshing change from the stereotypical boy-meets-girl fairytale.—reviewed by Bridget Huffine

Bridget Huffine (bridgeth@hotmail.com) is a freelance writer living in Denver, with dreams of relocating to the Big Apple in the near future. She spends the cold Colorado winters curled up on the couch, watching videos, maniacally applying rhinestones to anything and everything.

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