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SIFF ADVANCE: Me Him Her - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B

Me Him Her walks a lot of fine lines, some more comfortable than others. The cutesiness of it, particularly in a gay-themed -- or perhaps more accurately, queer-themed -- movie borderlines on unbearable at times. But there's also a vaguely camp element that, believe it or not, helps it work.

This is a story set in a heightened version of Los Angeles, in which the lives of celebrities are over the top in an overtly cornball way. Writer-director Max Landis (who wrote the thrilling Chronicle, here feature directing for the first time) presents an L.A. that is innately, "deeply weird," as main character Brendan (Luke Bracey) puts it. Most of L.A. really isn't, but the irony is that the side of L.A. this movie represents can still be easy to find. It does exist, and trust me, you can find weirder stuff in L.A. than what you see in this movie.

That's a big part of what makes it fun. Not all of the characters are given multiple dimensions -- a lesbian ex-girlfriend (Angela Sarafyan) is literally and accurately referred to in the film as "cartoonishly evil." In a climactic scene in which she embarks on a sword fight at a Hollywood party, which is one of the sequences that barely works due to some transparently "creative" editing with the stunts, she's even got a hairdo with protrusions suggesting horns.

Just go with it. In spite of the cartoonishly evil ex, the other characters are unusually human for a movie of this sort (and what sort that is can be hard to pin down -- this film, which flits in and out of satire or even spoof, defies categorization). It's nice to see a film that both refuses to draw militant lines regarding sexuality, and manages to handle it well.

We learn in the opening scene that Brendan has just come out, even to himself, and he's calling his best friend, straight guy Cory (Dustin Milligan), who lives in Florida. As becomes a trend, Cory says he already knew Brendan was gay, and Brendan says, "Why didn't you tell me?" He flies Cory out to L.A. for moral support while in the middle of a media frenzy for a popular cop drama in which he stars with Haley Joel Osment (who cameos here -- apparently he has a lot of cats).

Unlike many films about actors with regular-people friends and family, Me Him Her is about a guy who is already a star. Now he has to consider how to handle the prospect of his being gay becoming public. This is honestly less and less of an issue for anyone, but Landis attempts to sidestep the issue by having Brendan's handlers say it's easier for character actors to come out than for leading men. Have none of these people heard of Neil Patrick Harris or Zachary Quinto? This is a fantasy version of L.A., I guess, so maybe those guys don't exist in this world.

Surely many actors still struggle with these things, of course. And that's not the main facet of the story here. Although we begin and end with the friendship between Brendan and Cory, suggesting Brendan is the main character, the multiple plots all revolve around Cory -- who abandons Cory at a gay bar when he meets rebounding lesbian, or maybe bisexual, Gabbi (Emily Meade) and they go off together. Will Cory learn to be a better friend to Brendan while navigating the messy travails of a woman with a psycho ex girlfriend?

If it sounds hokey, well, it is. But this is a rare instance of hokiness that works, with a refreshing take on the full spectrum of sexuality -- straight, bi, gay, lesbian -- in which the problems characters have with each other stem from their humanity rather than it having anything to do with their identities. Aside from the crazy lesbian ex, it treats its women characters with unusual fairness (and it's nice that Gabbi has well-adjusted lesbian friends to balance things out). Brendan even has loving parents (played affably by Scott Bakula and Geena Davis) whose flaws extend exclusively from being older and thus somewhat oblivious. And although the script is far from perfect, it does feature arguably the most accurate monologue about what it feels like to fear coming out ever put onscreen.

Me Him Her is a rare example of a corny farce with some real, human and relatable truths at its core. Its occasional willingness to go overboard will be off putting to some, but overall it's a journey worth taking. If you give in to it, you'll find it irresistible.

Dustin Milligan is the straight man in ME HIM HER.

Overall: B+
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