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Gray Matters Is Unacceptable

Published February 22, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Yari Film Group.
Gray Matters Gray Matters
I have always enjoyed Heather Graham as a comedic actress. I have not seen anyone fit better into the rhythms of Scrubs than she did. They should have made her a regular. The one episode of Emily's Reasons Why Not that aired made me laugh too. She was cool in Austin Powers and The Guru and knows how to play with big expressions. So I'm not on the Hating Heather Graham bandwagon, but Gray Matters is unacceptable.

Movie Review: Gray Matters

Gray (Graham) and Sam (Thom Cavanagh) are such close brother and sister that people think they're dating. So they help each other find the perfect mate, and Gray stages a meet with Charlie (Bridget Moynahan) at a dog park. It goes so well, that Sam proposes the next day, but at the bachelorette party, the girls make out and Gray questions her sexuality.

This movie lost me when Gray says she wants a guy who will call her one hour after their first date to tell her he's madly in love with her. No. Not even in romantic comedy world does a woman want this. I'd buy that she thinks she wants it, but then it's the film's obligation to show a guy do it and the fickle woman decides, "Actually, that's not what I wanted after all." But that's just my pet peeve. There are plenty of other things to irritate mainstream audiences.

Other than the gay hook, which takes 40 minutes to get there anyway, this is a romantic comedy from people who watched too many Hugh Grant movies and didn't get them. They try to set up cutely embarrassing situations but all they can come up with is getting caught borrowing a dog and failing to catch a ball. The staged soiling of a wedding dress with a frappuccino is inexcusable. Oh, and of course they get up and sing.

People talk about what's supposed to be funny but with no perspective. Secretaries sleep with bosses, being too close with siblings is gross and liking Liza Minelli means you're gay. Graham makes as much as she can adorable. The chin fat is cute because it's her, even though it's another ridiculous non-observation.

People analyze life with painful metaphors. In a bowling alley, she feels like her choices are gutter balls. Her therapist tells her to keep the hotel closed but the veranda open. They all talk like writers cobbling together their post-it notes in speeches that barely make sense, and sound like bad movie lines which they are.

The pop culture attempts are worse than film school geeks. They add movie talk whenever possible, from Like Water for Chocolate and Babette's Feast to ET and Fatal Attraction. It feels less like an homage and more like somebody ran through a video store writing down titles.

But let's back up. The whole instant wedding is obnoxious. It's a plot function to move us to the gay revelation, but come on. We're supposed to identify with these people and as soon as they go into la-la land, it's like their condescending to us. "What, you can't decide the rest of your life in one night? Aren't you cool like us?" Those are the kinds of people I let ruin their own lives and stay out of mine.

When the film tries to hit the gay issues, at 80 minutes in, it's so not earned. Gay people are facing so much sh*t they don't need this crappy movie's sympathy. As if one tearful speech about spiteful stares and political issues means this movie speaks for an entire oppressed minority.

I don't usually get this hateful about small films because they're usually so invisible, nobody's even going to see them to be bothered by them. But this actually has some real people in it and Yari Group is releasing it, so they should absolutely be held accountable for endorsing this.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Yari Film Group.

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