I know that people complain that Hollywood has run out of fresh ideas and is only interested in sequels, prequels and reboots. Of course, this isn’t true. There are plenty of great films that don’t fit into this criteria. Although, not all of them are worth praising. I mean, if I have the choice between another Marvel sequel or a film starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as gay parents, I know what I’d rather watch. That’s not to say that the concept of a film about gay parents is flawed but the decision to cast Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan in it. As we’ve seen from James Corden’s performance in The Prom, Hollywood hasn’t exactly caught up to our contemporary view of gay people. Coogan is a great actor but, let’s be honest, he’s not known for being subtle. Despite my absolute certainty that it would be a car crash, I decided to watch this film to see for myself. It was short and I couldn’t skip another post.
So, how did it turn out? Well, it was better than I’d expected but that’s not to say it was actually good. I thought Coogan’s turn as Erasmus Brumble, a slight effeminate and very ostentatious TV chef, would have been absolutely appalling but it was merely mildly awkward. Yes, it felt like it belonged in the distant past but at least he tried to bring some depth to his performance. His wrist was definitely less limp than Corden’s would have been. What was clear is that he and co-star Paul Rudd never seemed to feel comfortable on screen. I wouldn’t say that there was very zero chemistry but it was hardly sizzling. They never felt like a couple and they seemed to stand as far away from each other as possible.
Now, I’m not saying that they had to be all over each other to be convincing but there has to be something between. The pair didn’t have the best relationship but it became impossible to see how they ever got together. There are some moments that work really well but it takes a long time for the two to warm up to each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that they bicker and argue. I love that this is not a soul mates/happily ever after kind of situation. It’s more the fact that every time Coogan puts his arm around Rudd he looks so awkward. Thank god the kid turns up to give them something else to do.
I will say that there are some genuinely funny and sweet moments here. It’s not that it’s a bad idea but there’s just something disappointing about it. The script is patchy and the film so easily falls into every other film like this. It’s paint by numbers film making and it all gets a bit much. It doesn’t surprise and it takes very few risks. I’d hate to think how bad this would have been without the main stars in their roles. Coogan, for all of his character’s dodginess, is clearly having a lot of fun. He’s also the perfect foil for Rudd’s straight man. Rudd, as Erasmus’ partner Paul, carries this film and shines even brighter. He’s got his ridiculous habits but he’s also the emotional core of the film.
When Erasmus’ grandson turns up needing a place to stay, it is Paul who ends up taking care of him. It’s sweet but the comedy just feels outdated. It’s all very easy and obvious jokes. Hey, these guys are gay. Hey, this kid’s dad is in prison. Hey, he’s poor and likes Taco Bell. I just don’t know how the two sides of this film really come together. It’s not that it’s horrible offensive but it Ideal Home feels at odds with itself. Yet it isn’t quite as chaotic as I was expecting. At least that’s something.