September 28, 2001

All Over the Writing

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Despite the common assumption that the new millennium has brought about greater acceptance (and, therefore, fewer stereotypical gay roles in movies), the lisping, overzealous characters still manage to dominate side plots throughout the Hollywood scene. Thankfully, a rogue independent film occasionally slips through the cracks and goes against such monotony. One such film is Bucatinsky’s All Over the Guy.

The film chronicles the lives of two gay men in their thirties, Tom (Richard Ruccolo) and Eli (Dan Bucatinsky), who are set up on a blind date by two friends who have just started dating.

Tom is an alcoholic raised by abusive, alcoholic parents. He is what one might consider the “typical guy” — afraid of commitment, stubborn, etc. Eli (whose parents, as overenthusiastic psychotherapists, raised him on the other end of the spectrum) is neurotic, insecure, and ready to settle down. Their relationship flip-flops as Tom tries to come to grips with his fear of love.

Even with background knowledge of the film, it is surprising to see that the complex relationship between Eli and Tom was actually the focus of the movie, rather than a peripheral plotline embedded in the wall of a straight romantic comedy.

The chemistry between Eli and Tom — both sexual and social — is palpable, which adds to the credibility of the film. Bucatinsky and Ruccolo complement each other nicely, and do not disappoint the audience in their roles.

While the occasional fight or family flaw may have elicited serious thought, All Over the Guy definitely belongs to the romantic comedy genre. Laughs abound throughout the film, a testament to a well-written script by Bucatinsky that was wittily and intelligently executed without succumbing to the precedent often revisited by other gay roles.

Consistently funny were the glimpses at Eli’s family life, both through childhood flashbacks and present contact with his mother. Andrea Martin (who was seen in Hedwig and the Angry Itch) masterfully plays the “touchy-feely” therapist mother who forces naked dolls and family recitations of the word ‘vagina’ on Eli and his sister (Christina Ricci). These vain attempts to create open sexual discussion in the family are hilarious examples of the many ways that our parents can screw us up.

The only visible flaw of this film is the abundance of random, unnecessary scenes that seem to drag it out a bit. It still remains a mystery as to why certain scenes were even included. Because of these extensions, the constant vacillation in the relationship of Tom and Eli becomes somewhat tiring by the end.

Thankfully, the high caliber writing, as well as acting, save this indie film from getting stuck in a rut and keep it on the road of ingenuity.

Archived article by Stacy Williams