The best thing that can be said about the charming 2012 gay-themed romcom "Love or Whatever," which TLA Releasing division Canteen Outlaws released on DVD in late July 2014, is that it is funny because it is (largely) true. The next best thing to say about it is that the post-closing credits scene is both hilarious and provides an awesome sense of justice.
On a larger level, the film is a nice surprise in that is not an over-the-top campy movie, a melodramatic tear jerker, or an unduly salacious soft-core porn offering. The limited nudity and tasteful sex scenes genuinely propel the story.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Love" presents a deceptively campy image of the film but also conveys the heart and humor that makes it enjoyable.
"Love" centers around nice (and reasonably attractive) boy-next-door type Corey, who is enjoying an enviable life at the beginning of the film. His therapy practice is doing well, his hunky boyfriend Jon is not entirely kept and genuinely loves him, and his wacky sister Kelsey provides a sense of family while pushing him to loosen up some.
The catalyst for the ensuing amusing incidents (but only sporadic hilarity) that largely drive the plot is Jon discovering the engagement rings that Corey has bought. This causes our mid-20s personal trainer to panic regarding whether he is ready for the commitment that marriage represents. This panic in turn drives Jon into the arms of another after a funnily awkward meeting at a bar.
Jon's casual encounter in turn is a significant factor in the breakup with Corey that soon follows. A somewhat simultaneous visit from a hot pizza boy who comes bearing a sausage-laden pie and may deliver does not help matters.
Corey falling into a severe tailspin fairly quickly followed by a strong desire to establish a new meaningful relationship is very realistic. The population of gay men is relatively small to begin with and the subset of that group with whom a fella-loving fella feels a mutual attraction and who indicates an interest in a long-term relationship is very rare. Losing it is devastating and creates a strong desire to fill the void.
The associated desires of Corey both to have his romantic life in order by his upcoming milestone birthday and to spend that day with someone special are also very realistic. These relate to the aforementioned challenges that gay men face in achieving the dream of an Ozzie and Harriet style relationship.
Additionally, gay relationships tend to progress at a faster pace than straight ones. Having genuinely good-intentioned sex before really knowing your partner and subsequently building a life together within a few months of meeting can hinder things working out in the long run.
The man who shamelessly misrepresents himself in his dating profile whom Corey meets in his quest to find a new Mr. Right (as opposed to Mr. Rightnow) is predictable. The next two candidates for the position of Corey's husband are hilariously unpredictable. "Another Gay Movie" veteran Michael Carbonaro offers a scene-stealing performance as a man who makes those of us who consider our pets our children to feel pretty good about ourselves.
Another quasi-truism regarding the quest of Corey for true love is that he finds it largely by happenstance while not actively ooking for it. This leads to the best-ever first date and the predictable romance that equally predictably hits a serious snag roughly 15 minutes before the end of the film.
The snag relates to the (again realistic) anxiety of Corey that the dreamy, bright, and witty object of his affection cannot genuinely love the less attractive and non-hunky Corey. This also reflects the truism that such a difference in attractiveness often is not a problem until the less dreamy person makes it one.
Specific highlights from "Love" include a scene in which Corey is caught with his pants down under the most embarrassing circumstances ever, Kate Flannery from "The Office" playing a character who is very true to the nature of Meredith from that series, and a wonderfully horrible open-mic poetry session.
The final analysis of this tale of a therapist who can be his own worst enemy is that it is an amusing film that is a good choice for a gay-themed movie night or a date night for a loving gay couple. It also provides a nice primer on gay relationships for folks with an interest in better understanding this aspect of love. The same type of real man who is not afraid to order quiche at a restaurant should not hesitate to order this film online or to watch it with anyone who is significant to him.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Love" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.