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BROKEN HEARTS CLUB

SYNOPSIS:
Dennis (Timothy Olyphant), Kevin (Andrew Keegan), Cole (Dean Cain), Howie (Matt McGrath), Patrick (Ben Weber) and Taylor (Billy Porter) are a supportive group of gay, twenty-something Los Angeles friends. They rely on each other, and father figure Jack (John Mahoney), whose kitchen provides them with steady work and an opportunity to receive his worldly wisdom. The friends are young, exuberant and a little aimless. But a sad and sudden event provokes them to seek new perspectives on their own lives and their relationships with each other.

"‘I’m 28 years old and the only thing I’m good at is being gay.’ Touche. That’s certainly the impression we get. And the fact that I can’t remember precisely which of the young and gay and living-in-LA friends makes this remark is symptomatic of the film’s limitations. As a lightweight pictorial of day-to-day gay culture in a big modern city it does possess a gentle charm. And a rare restraint. There is little campery, few sequins, and hardly any minority-group angst. It even manages to Survive without Gloria Gaynor, although there is a heavy dose of The Carpenters (a definite plus). But the characters are so superficial and so lightly sketched that they’re almost interchangeable. They talk a lot about very little, and aside from their sexual predilection, come across as a particularly dull and stereotypical group. Still, the performances are excellent. Dean Cain has gone from playing a man of steel who flounces around in a body suit, to a casually stylish, promiscuous pretty boy, and is entirely convincing. But it is John Mahoney, as Jack, a patriarch figure (or should it be matriarch?) to the boys, who is the most engaging. A master of the understated gesture, he’s superb as a congenial old fruit, content to run his kitchen, and periodically doff a softball uniform, or a dress. He is also the focus of the film’s one dramatic turning point. An episode that is sensitively handled, but unfortunately goes nowhere. With many scenes introduced by dictionary-style definitions of gay lingo, it’s clear the film’s only real ambition is to showcase a contemporary gay perspective to a broad audience. A little more substance, and it might have found a broader audience still."
Brad Green

"Finally! A gay film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The Broken Hearts Club is, thankfully, unashamedly, a mainstream gay comedy largely removed from the politiking and nastiness that often characterises gay film or gay ‘issues’. Existing without vulgarity, hysteria, AIDS victims, angst ridden closet cases, pornography or Freudian analysis, The Broken Hearts Club is a rare presentation which covers an endearing side of gay city life. Of course, the film has likewise been attacked by critics and accusers for feigning the politicial and daring to be ‘itself’ -- a light-hearted gay comedy. The film IS funny and engaging regardless of one’s sexual preference. Very much a coming of age story, The Broken Hearts Club is loosely based on The Boys in the Band (1970). It is centred on a group of (surprising affluent) waiters and staff who work at a gay restaurant in a large gay community in West Hollywood. Dennis (Olyphant) laments, "I'm 28 years old and all I'm good at is being gay." Jack (Mahoney) the restaurant owner and father figure later affirms, "Sometimes I wonder what you boys would do if you weren't gay … you'd have no identity." The film shamelessly explores and mocks the lusty-pretentious-voyeur stereotype that has come to characterise the performances of gay men as something behaviourally akin to the teenage prom queen. Ironically, the only substantial criticism to offer is associated with director Berlanti’s (Dawson’s Creek) apparent identity crisis -- his film is so TV, so quasi-Friends / Sex in the City, that one can plainly see the closet-sitcom aching to come out. Nonetheless, a thoroughly enjoyable piece of cinema."
Michael Shane

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

BROKEN HEARTS CLUB (M)
(US)

CAST: Dean Cain, Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff, Nia Long, Andrew Keegan

DIRECTOR: Greg Berlanti

PRODUCER: Mickey Liddell, Joseph Middleton

SCRIPT: Greg Berlanti

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Paul Elliott

EDITOR: Todd Busch

MUSIC: Christophe Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charles Daboub Jr.

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 5, 2001 (Sydney); May 17 (Qld); May 31 (Adelaide/Perth); June 14 (Melb)

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: October 3, 2001







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