Generally speaking, I am not a fan of trendy relationship films. Cameron Crowe’s Singles aside, they are just not my kind of thing. They typically embody too much neurosis and whining from the female characters, and either overly sensitive or overly dense men. Plot elements are rarely believable (the two main characters often bump into each other at some all-too-fortuitous locale), and I frequently leave the theater feeling as if I have been manipulated into believing the story would actually be possible if it…happened in real life.
I also tend to not enjoy independent films that put too much power in the hands on one individual. Again, there are exceptions to this rule, such as Jon Favreau’s Swingers, but as a whole, I find that it is always better to have input from others when crafting a film. Especially when the others in question have actually made a film before. This is almost always the case when it comes to first-time directors and/or writers. When they try to do it all themselves, I feel that it forces them to bite off more than they can chew, so to speak, and the quality of the work suffers as a result.
Sadly, All Over the Guy is all of these things that I dislike, wrapped up into one big über-nightmare. What’s more, the whole piece is ambitiously based in the world of male homosexual relationships, an area of modern life that is rarely travailed in the context of a romantic comedy. The result of all of these factors is a film that attempts a lot, but accomplishes nothing. The dialog is mostly bland, the acting is uneven, and the pacing is jerky. The only truly entertaining parts of the movie come from a Lisa Kudrow cameo that lasts a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and a recurring bit about the effects of the film In and Out on the gay community.
This is a weak film that tries to say and do way too much. Every character is extreme in their personality traits, and the dialog just goes on and on and on and on and on. The entire film has the feel of a second act, dragging its feet and exploring every single aspect of the main characters’ relationship in painful detail. By the time I finally got to the ending, however, it felt rushed, and the audience was left having to assume too much.
Good romantic comedies are out there, but this is most certainly not one of them.
(I had considered not mentioning the overriding homosexual theme of the film, but I feel that it is unavoidable, even in these modern times. Several scenes in the film feature male kissing, and two in particular feature fairly explicit homosexual sex. While these actions alone are not enough to make me give this film a poor rating, some may be very offended by these scenes, and so their inclusion in the film bears mentioning here.)
The audio quality on this disc is disappointing to say the least. The track is encoded in the Dolby Digital 5.1 format, but I have heard 2.0 tracks that had more depth and clarity. The sound is flat and tinny, with virtually no low-end. It is so flat in fact, that while I was screening the film, my wife walked through the room and, without stopping, asked, “What’s wrong with the sound?” Sadly, nothing. It is exactly as the DVD producers have mixed it to be.
Even more odd and annoying is that there are several places in the film where the sound quality varies within the scene. These may be sections of ADR (automatic dialog replacement), but that does not excuse these annoying changes in tone. Also, the sound field is uncharacteristically narrow for a 5.1 offering, which adds to the small feel of the picture. The only time that the sound field spreads out across the front-of-house is during the musical interludes, of which there are several.
The video quality goes hand-in-hand with the audio. The film is quite grainy; making some shots look as though they have been blown-up digitally, instead of being shot with a zoom. There is also a recurring problem with blemishes on the source material showing up throughout the presentation. I am surprised that a film as new as this one has these types of problems.
Just as there are problems with aural continuity, the video also has some difficulty keeping the same lighting and tones throughout a scene. Especially noticeable are the flesh tones in a scene, which make the characters go from a natural look to an almost sickly pale green and back again, depending on the camera angle and take from the day of the shoot. I was more surprised to find these problems than any of the others, as much of this probably could have been fixed in post-production, had the studio taken the time and/or spent the money to do so.
This film has a surprising number of extras included, especially for an obscure Lion’s Gate title. The typical trailer is here, as well as a small photo gallery, and a feature-length commentary with key members of the crew. An alternate ending is also included, which I was glad to see didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. The theatrical ending is already pretty forced, and the alternate ending is even more so.
The interview section contains comments by the cast and crew on their characters, working with a writer who is also the star of the film, and a few other such topics. This amounts to the standard “pat on the back” piece that seems to show up all too frequently as DVD extras these days. The deleted scenes section is actually just one alternate sequence from the film, and is barely worth mentioning. There are also three sets of storyboards on the disc, two of which are the boards themselves, with the third actually being a “storyboard to film” comparison piece.
Lastly, one of the director’s early short films is included. While the student film (video, actually) is not particularly noteworthy, the casting of Lawrence Tierney in a supporting role is! It is odd to see the classic B-movie tough guy do some free work for a film student, and give it just as much as he would have if it were a performance for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. This is a truly surprising little tidbit.
With the exception of a very brief cameo by Lisa Kudrow, this is a horrible film that has very little going for it. While I have certainly seen worse films in my time as a reviewer, this one is definitely one of the least rewarding titles of the bunch. I would be surprised if anyone other than the writer/director’s own Mother came away from this film with a positive impression, and even she might be a little embarrassed.
Special Features List
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- Short Film
- Photo Gallery