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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Single All the Way Review




I have a question. Is it okay to totally love a corny, over the top, straight engineered queer Christmas movie even though it may be ALL of the above? Of course it is you monsters!


Because sometimes, despite many of the flaws a movie may possess, queer representation still matters in every genre, and the movie I’m reviewing this week did a WORLD of good for this cantankerous young queer who isn’t used to seeing two men in this type of movie.


That’s right, true to my brand of reviewing things weeks late I am talking today about Single All the Way, Netflix’s newest Christmas romance movie with an LGBT twist!


The movie is about Peter, a gay social media manager living in LA with his best friend and roommate Nick. After a disastrous dating mishap, Peter (Ugly Betty star Michael Urie), asks Nick to come home with him for the holidays even though they're "just friends". Sounds like a pretty predictable, familiar premise right? You’d think the movie would be boring. I mean it’s every fan fiction ever written come to life. However, thanks to some brilliant casting and a whole lot of heart this movie is surprisingly touching, funny, and earnest, and may end up being one of my new holiday favourites.


Let’s start with the cast. Michael Urie and Nick’s Philemon Chambers do a great job of playing the will they, won’t they game that’s typical in these movies. Their friendship and chemistry are strong and it’s the binding that keeps the movie from feeling corny and forced.


Peter’s family are a perfect bunch of oddballs. His mother, played by the impeccable Kathy Najimy, is understanding and patient with her son, and just wants him to be happy. She’s one of the only ones in the family that doesn’t totally overstep her boundaries in the movie, despite sending Peter off on a blind date he has no interest in going on. The rest of the family spend the entire movie trying to push Nick and Peter together, including his sister, nieces and father, which is sometimes very sweet and well-meaning, and sometimes incredibly pushy and creepy, the nieces, in particular, are quite creepy in their efforts. There is an element of “all gays should just get together with every other gay guy they know”. But Peter’s mother is constantly reminding the family and the audience that that’s a harmful way of looking at things, God bless her.


Another piece of casting genius, Jennifer Coolidge as boozy, dramatic Aunt Sandy. You could drop Jennifer Coolidge in anything, a political thriller, a slasher, whatever, and she would play the same character, and she would kill it every time. Her line delivery and totally unhinged characterisation of Peter’s aunt is brilliant, and she’s the only character who doesn’t stick her nose into the relationship of Nick and Peter, which even though that’s what the movie is about, it’s still a refreshing distraction. Her moments were the only ones where I full-on belly laughed. When finding out Peter is going out on a blind date she shouts, “Oooh, from Grindr??”.


But it’s still Urie and Chambers sweetness that makes the movie more of an “aww” and less of an “eugh” type of experience.


Urie’s Peter, a “plant gay”, that is a gay man who is obsessed with plants, is delightfully shy yet ballsy, a man who is confident in all things but love. He is the one you route for, not in the sick, intrusive way his family does, but in a healthy way where you just want him to be happy, whether it’s with Nick, or the hot blind date James, with who he also has chemistry with.


That’s where one of the movie’s problems arises actually, yes it would be cute for Nick and Peter to fall in love, but Peter’s brilliant mother sets him up with the perfect man who wants to be with him. There are no awkward times between the pair where you shout, “You should be with Nick!” because James is so damn charming. Even though Nick is hot, sweet, kind and good with his hands. He wrote a beautiful story about his dog, he’s funny. There were just a few moments where Peter and James didn’t pop also.


I won’t spoil the end, but I will say is, is that it’s satisfying, whatever it may be. And it tops off what is a solid, adorable, funny movie that everyone, not just gay people, can enjoy. There have been way worse Christmas romance movies made in the past, and it’s good to see gay representation in all genres of film.


Plus Peter uses the term Guncle (gay uncle) a term I am desperately trying to make work in my own family, and we can all get behind that.

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