SINGLE ALL THE WAY (2021)
Not only do we finally have a worthy gay romantic comedy to enjoy during the holiday season, we have have of the best rom-com entries in years as Michael Urie and Philemon Chambers, along with a stellar supporting cast, bring heart and authenticity to Single All the Way.
When Peter (Urie) returns home for the holidays, he brings his best friend Nick (Chambers) to play his fake boyfriend, simply to avoid his family’s judgment. Little does he know that his mother (Kathy Najimy) has set him up on a blind date and that the entire trip will stir up emotions in an unexpected way. Writer Chad Hodge beautifully balances the the platitudes of being gay and being home for the holidays with family with spot-on humor and a swift screenplay. Quite honestly, I haven’t laughed that hard at a film in quite some time. While Single All the Way certainly leans into the cheese, it does so gracefully and never without intention. Urie and Chambers are delightful as the leads, their chemistry palpable and their emotional journeys genuine. Add in Najimy and the always entertaining Jennifer Coolidge as the quirky aunt who will leave you in tears (“Like from Grindr?”), well you just have a winning recipe.
What is most remarkable about Single All the Way and Hodge’s approach is the inclusion of Luke MacFarlane’s James, the other end of the blind date and the ultimate emotional guide for Peter. As he realizes Peter is in love with Nick, James processes that with Peter in an understanding, nonjudgmental way. After all, we’re all just trying to find our way through life, find what makes us happy, and if that involves a partner, find the right one. What a refreshing approach to a gay rom-com that doesn’t rely on cheap stereotypes and emotionless connections grounded in the physical. It also doesn’t dwell on the tired dramatic tropes of familial acceptance, the coming out drama, and all that involves. Instead, acceptance is the base, the norm, the foundation. We have so many films that focus on the challenges of being yourself that it’s simply beautiful to see happiness and joy depicted on screen. We need more of that. Director Michael Mayer has crafted perhaps my favorite rom-com in over a decade and a must watch.
Single All the Way is now streaming on Netflix.
Photo from Netflix