Jackie (Sasha Alexander) meets Brett (Adam Goldberg) over a love seat, and their mutual attraction — that spark which keeps them hopeful after so many romantic disasters — makes them generous. They decide to fix up their respective best friends, Tom (Richard Ruccolo) and Eli (Dan Bucatinsky), who suffer through a disastrous first date only to subsequently discover their own common ground.
While Jackie and Brett board an express train on the marriage track, Tom and Eli head down a rockier road. Dan Bucatinsky — whose screenplay for All Over the Guy is adapted from his play, I Know You Are, But What Am I? — makes it clear early on that the latter couple’s problems derive not from being gay, but from their own particular bundles of neuroses. What’s impeding their future is the past, and director Julie Davis (I Love You, Don’t Touch Me!) visualizes key childhood moments in flashbacks tinged with a gallows humor that makes the situations (Tom’s parents are tight-lipped alcoholics, Eli’s are overexpressive psychiatrists) equally funny and sad.
As much as Eli makes fun of the parents who treated him and his sister (Christina Ricci) more like patients than their children, Bucatinsky believes that revealing hidden truths is vital. So as Tom plays the “I want you, now go away game” and Eli tries to take a stand on shaky ground, All Over the Guy emerges as a serious-minded romantic comedy where situations may be played for laughs, but the stakes are high.
Eschewing the self-loathing slapstick of In and Out (a movie these characters openly revile) or the island-in-a-storm approach of Broken Hearts Club, All Over the Guy presents a polysexual Los Angeles where a good relationship — no matter what the gender orientation — emerges as a small miracle.
Opens Friday exclusively at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main, Royal Oak). Call 248-542-0180.
Serena Donadoni writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail her at [email protected].