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Review | ‘More than Friends’ uses formulas to its advantage and offers a fun romantic comedy

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Few film genres have been as successful as romantic comedies. Serving as escape valves by constructing stories that escape concrete reality, romantic comedies became hugely popular in the 1990s and won over audiences around the world – although they have since suffered from the excessive repetition of conventionalisms. narratives and aesthetics. With the exception of a few titles that deconstructed this plastered structure (like the recent “Megaromantic”, with Rebel Wilson), it’s been a while since we’ve seen truly moving and engaging stories – but Billy Eichner pulled it off. to use all the elements to bring it to life, to the great ‘More than Friends’.

Directed by Nicholas Stoller, who is no stranger to romantic comedies, and featuring a script by Eichner and Stoller, the feature debunks the stereotypes found in similar films by bringing in a gay man named Bobby (who is also played by Eichner), who is in her late thirties and has pretty much given up on love. As the story begins, it’s remarkable how Bobby may have realized he wasn’t born to be with someone in a lasting relationship – and he’s not even looking for it. After all, his successful career speaks for itself, given that he is director of New York’s upcoming LGBTQIA+ museum, as well as running a podcast that covers queer discussions and speaks with enviable openness about everything. what he wants (inexcusably and blatantly).

Even pretending to be an independent person, he misses something – not someone else’s company, but something that helps him fill in the gaps he doesn’t notice. Bobby has occasional encounters with several men and continues to isolate himself in an inhospitable frivolity, where sex is not enough to satisfy him. Things begin to change when he crosses paths with Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a testamentary lawyer who has the “perfect body” in perpetuated standards. The two start talking and embark on a uniquely important journey of self-discovery to understand the complexity of the queer community and what is meant for its members (which has already caused pathetic euphoria from homophobes ).

The film uses countless formulas immortalized by mainstream cinema: we have two people from different worlds who cross paths and fall in love; we have the moral supports which serve as an addition; and the obstacles the characters face in growing, maturing, and finding themselves in spectacular and incredible ways. However, the spirit of “More Than Friends” comes from a conscious understanding that borders on metalanguage, as both aspects are mentioned in the plot. Bobby is passionate about classic works that have become LGBTQIA+ icons and constantly references Aaron, as if trying to understand his evasive behavior; everything becomes clear when Eichner imprints on the progress of the protagonists an anthropological vision in which, within the ephemeral society in which we live, nothing is enough to satisfy us for a long time.

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Considering rom-coms have suffered from an intrinsic disease for many years, Stoller doesn’t have much to drive. For those unfamiliar with the director’s style, just remember ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Five Years of Engagement’ (two of his best-known forays) – and here the filmmaker seems to be having similar fun. way it has done the weather since. However, it is remarkable how much more it draws inspiration from the construction of the scenes, offering something beyond the constructions of the images and ensuring that each gear works with mastery and leads us to a practical conclusion and predictable (not that that’s a problem). And, cultivating the nostalgic sense of familiarity, there are hilarious and relatable sequences, from a holiday dinner to an epic musical reunion.

Of course, this isn’t the first gay rom-com we’ve seen; Well, this year we had “Pride & Seduction”, featuring Joel Kim Booster and celebrating Asian culture; however, the feature setting is more inaccessible than seen here, as it depends on the story to occur. Eichner and Stoller join forces to deliver another side of queer assaults on film, constructing a plot that relates to those who experience it, not those who have always been portrayed. In fact, there is still a long way to go, but introducing an all-LGBTQIA+ cast into a mainstream studio is a huge step in earning our deserved place alongside those who have been represented since the beginning of cinema.

The supporting cast is stronger than similar works, guided by stellar performances that match those of Eichner and Macfarlane. We have Ts Madison as Angela, one of the museum directors who doesn’t touch anyone’s head; Jim Rash as Robert, who doesn’t believe bisexuals have enough voice; Miss Lawrence as Wanda, a symbol of calm and empathy stronger than it seems; Dot-Marie Jones in a spectacular portrayal of Cherry, whose beliefs clash admirably with those of Robert; and Eve Lindley as the intelligent and fickle Tamara, a representative of Generation Z and with a heart of gold.

Despite occasional pacing issues, “More Than Friends” is a terrific and welcome romantic comedy that moves beyond superficial truisms and manages to embrace genre conventions without resorting to expired archetypes or meaningless resolutions. The result exceeds our expectations and stands out as a fun and touching surprise that is worth it.

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