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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 - Edition No 915 
Reckoning

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THREE TO TANGO

SYNOPSIS:
Architect Oscar Novak (Matthew Perry) and partner Peter Steinberg (Oliver Platt) have the business opportunity of their careers. All they have to do is convince mega tycoon Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott) that their model for his new multi-million dollar cultural centre is superior to that of their underhanded rivals Decker and Strauss. All seems to be going well until the jealous Charles instructs Oscar to spy on his mistress, glass blower Amy (Neve Campbell) to ensure her faithfulness. After all, Oscar's a safe bet because he's gay right? Wrong. It's Peter who's gay and Oscar is forced to play the part in order to land the job. But what of his increasing desire for Amy?

"Prepare for a massive suspension of disbelief and you'll have a pretty enjoyable time watching Three to Tango. Believe that a mega-millionaire is going to insist that competing architects build larger scale models of their exact same small scale ones in order to win a contract. OK. Believe that sassy, independent Neve Campbell is going to put up with the treatment offered by said millionaire Dylan McDermott. OK. Believe that a straight man is going to be voted Chicago's gay man of the year. Believe Matthew Perry's hair style. Now you're ready to enjoy Three To Tango. From the opening credits first time director Damon Santostefano establishes a strong 1940's goofball comedy feel which he maintains throughout the film. Perry may well have found his niche with the type of character he plays here. He's quick with the one liners but is also able to pull off goofy while winning our hearts at the same time. Unlike most of his Friends counterparts, Perry is looking the goods for a movie career. Fellow TV performer Neve Campbell also shows us another aspect of her talents: humour. She's genuinely funny as the glass blowing mistress. Dylan McDermott makes the mistake of playing a bore boringly. The story moves at a good pace and, while there really are no surprises, it passes the time amusingly. It's good to see a gay lifestyle as just another alternative, but it's still a very safe approach when the gay character championing the cause is actually straight. But, after all, this is a Hollywood studio production."
Lee Gough

"The romantic comedy with a gay twist is becoming something of a film staple. And thatís not necessarily a good thing. Like others of the sub-genre (think In and Out) Three to Tango has some funny moments and a largely believable romance. But itís let down by an entirely predictable script and a heavy reliance on some not-so-funny prat falls for laughs. Also, Iím not convinced the film doesnít perpetuate gay stereotyping, despite making some noises about tolerance. Itís almost like some of the early blaxploitation films - where the hero is actually a caricature based on a racial (or in this case sexual) stereotype. At a more basic level, the dialogue is often stilted and the ending is so banal it nearly defies words. Perhaps the producers spent all the budget on their cast, leaving none for script development. The cast does a pretty good job all things considered. For me, Oliver Platt is the pick of them, as the only openly gay character in the piece. Neve Campbell takes on a more mature role for her and brings an earthy sensuality to Amy; and Dylan McDermott as the philandering tycoon plays against his TV persona. Unfortunately, Matthew Perry doesnít and he proves to be the weak link. He just canít seem to break out of the one-note character he plays on Friends. Three to Tango isnít particularly memorable, but itís not going to stretch the intellect and could be a pleasant enough diversion if youíre not looking for anything deep in your movies."
David Edwards



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

THREE TO TANGO (M)
(US)

CAST: Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott, Oliver Platt

DIRECTOR: Damon Santostefano

PRODUCER: Jeffrey Silver, Bettina Sofia Viviano

SCRIPT: Rodney Patrick Vaccaro

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Walt Lloyd

EDITOR: Stephen Semel

MUSIC: Graeme Revell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Nichols

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 2, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: June 6, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment







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