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  • Ben Turner

Single All The Way **


Starring: Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Kathy Najimy, Luke Macfarlane, Jennifer Coolidge

Director: Michael Mayer

Country: USA


Last year, Queer audiences were excited by the arrival of Happiest Season, the very first LGBT+ Hallmark Christmas movie. A year later Netflix follows suit with Single All The Way, but absolutely doesn’t live up to its trailblazing predecessor, even if that bar was already set pretty low.


Peter (Urie - Ugly Betty) is excited to announce to his family that he’s bringing home a boyfriend for the Holidays, only to find out the man in question has a wife. Not wanting to let his family down, he brings his best friend Nick (Chambers) instead, intending to pretend that they have finally got together. But on arrival, his mother (Najimy - Hocus Pocus, Sister Act) has already set him up with the hunky trainer at her gym (Macfarlane - Brothers And Sisters) and Peter doesn’t follow through on his plan. But as the trip continues, both begin to realise that what started as a madcap scheme might actually be what they both want after all.


This is absolutely a Christmas-movie-by-numbers and while no one expects a festive romcom to reinvent the wheel, it would be nice to see the filmmakers at least trying to find light and shade within it. The situation is quaint but not funny its own right, so the director has rolled in Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde, American Pie) because, as her character literally says, “The gays love me”. Well, we do if she’s funny, which she can’t be with a comedy script completely lacking any comedy whatsoever. And while she does add some spice to the family scenes, her one-liners have already been used up in the trailer.


The plot is laughably predictable, with setup that is needlessly complicated followed by a denouement that is painfully obvious. Urie makes for a suitably clueless lead, but Chambers sparkles as Nick, which adds even more to the dramatic irony that we all know they should be together but they don’t. As the wider family start to plot to sabotage Peter’s dates with the hunky PT it does feel for a moment that the film might be finding its stride, but it absolutely fails to follow through, focusing on benign dialogue over comedy capers in a film already saturated with saccharine earnestness and a chronic lack of humour.


It almost feels like Christmas movies like these beg only to be judged against their peers, but in reality you would never stand to watch a romcom this bad at any other time of year. Sure, it looks great, drenched in fairy lights and snow and holly, but this idealised Christmas card setting does not make up for a lack of substance and a severe absence of laughs.


UK Release: Out now on Netflix.

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