Day: February 21st, 2007

Gray Matters

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 | All Things, Film

I met M for a preview screening of writer-director-producer Sue Kramer’s Gray Matters, starring Thomas Cavanagh (of Love Monkeycanceled after three episodes), Heather Graham (of Emily’s Reasons Why Notcanceled after one) and newly pregnant Bridget Moynahan (of Six Degrees — assumed canceled until ABC announced its return to the television schedule on March 23.)

We went into the theater knowing precious little about the movie plot, and after checking our names at the door, we spied the promotional poster with the tagline: A romantic comedy about a brother, a sister, and the girl of their dreams.

What the…?

I turned to M — MLF — brow furrowed quizzically. She glimpsed over, sheepishly at first, and as we dissolved into nervous, incredulous giggles, she began: “I swear, I didn’t know…!”

Gray Matters

Undaunted, we took our seats and settled in as Kramer introduced her film. As she spoke, it was clear that her directorial debut was a labor of love; M later explained that the filmmaker, who has a husband and a daughter, made the romantic comedy to honor her gay sister. Kramer described the film as “a postcard to New York City,” and revealed that the film’s central whirlwind romance was inspired by her own and her parents’ marriages; as she told it, it was love at first sight for both couples. Aw.

With such sweet intentions, I was prepared to like the film. Cue opening panoramic shots of the Manhattan skyline (corny, but still pretty) and an opening dance sequence by siblings Graham and Cavanaugh (ditto, but Cheek to Cheek  remains one of my favorites.) So far, not bad. For a while, things seemed to glide along amiably enough, but then… well, think Woody Allen by way of Nora Ephron, with about half the wit. Maybe I’m just not a fan of Graham’s, but her Wide-Eyed Perky Blonde shtick felt particularly grating to me here. When Gray and her creepily co-dependent surgeon brother scout out Moynahan in Central Park, the (hetero) pair fall in love, and dash off to Vegas in record time, setting off a chain of events that leads to Gray’s eventual discovery of her own true sexuality: a gratuitous hot tub scene, a Gloria Gaynor sing-along (the whole song!) and the infamous kiss, viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube by the GOGA-loving masses. To cap off the sitcom-ish feel, the scene of Gray’s too public outing seems to have been lifted almost directly from a decade-old Ellen  episode.

Thrown into the mix is a slumming Sissy Spacek, as Gray’s kooky bowling/rock-climbing shrink, Molly Shannon as Gray’s kooky co-worker, channeling… well, every kooky Molly Shannon character, and Alan Cumming as a Scottish cabdriver, who at one point is forced by contrivance to don a black cocktail dress, a string of pearls and a dowdy hat. (Naturally, this drag get-up fails to elicit the suspicions of any of the sophisticated lesbians in the girls-only bar.) Add it all together and it totals a 9%(!) approval rating.

Later, at the afterparty at sleekly swanky Manor (ne  Pink Elephant), M and I kicked back with icy tumblers of Jack and Coke Zeros. I can’t remember the last time I heard Bell Biv Devoethe 56th greatest song since you were born. I’d recognize that intro anywhere.

Union Square Park

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