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Reviews: Film and Book reviews

Sun 3 Apr, 2011
By Robert Ingham

I defy anyone to not have a massive smile on their face by the end of the movie

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Is It Just Me? review

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Is It Just Me? is a delightful gay rom-com about finding Mr Right in a world fixated on beauty and looks, and the lengths we go to to hide our own fears in relationships.

Set in sun-drenched LA, Blaine (Nicholas Downs) is a good-looking 20-something year old who writes for the online paper “USA To Gay”. He is, ultimately, the gay man’s Carrie from Sex In The City, watching the world go by and then using his experiences to write his column.

As he looks out the window in the coffee shop, he notices that all the gay men in relationships around him are good looking and he starts wondering “Is It Just Me?” or are there other guys who aren’t transfixed on looks and who would rather put brain and personality before brawn?

Blaine shares his house with Cameron (Adam Huss), a buff go-go dancer who is more interested in intercourse than intelligence, and as Cam shags his way through the City of Angels, Blaine sits in his room online talking to various guys who start out wanting to talk but very quickly turn to sex. Disenchanted, he’s about to log off when another guy, Xander, messages him. They end up chatting on the phone for 6 hours and agree to do the same the next night, even though neither knows what the other looks like.

Of course Xander (David Loren) turns out to be a hottie but the comedy starts when Blaine discovers Cameron has been using his own photo on Blaine’s profile leading Xander to believe Blaine is Cameron. Unfortunately whilst Blaine is confident behind the glare of his laptop he is rather socially awkward when it comes to affairs on the heart. Rather than be honest about the mistake a comedy of errors begins as Blaine persuades Cameron to meet Xander pretending to be Blaine. While Blaine is there. Pretending to be Cameron. Still with me?

What could be a really twee and saccharine story; it is lifted by a witty script and great acting and story-telling. Writer and director J.C. Calciano has combined all the elements of what is needed to create a very watchable film without veering towards the sensational or adding scenes with no reason but to titillate. Every scene has its raison d’être. One of the loveliest characters is Xander’s housemate, Ernie (Bruce Gray), a 60-odd year old gay guy who feels he has lost his chance in love but puts on a brave face and steals each scene he’s in. His character is just adorable and I defy anyone to not have a massive smile on their face by the end of the movie.

However, as with most romantic comedies it does have the usual Hollywood-style ending but there is something rather comforting in this, like putting on your favourite pair of slippers. You know you’re in safe territory and therefore you don’t feel cheated or as if J.C. is going for the easy option.

Is It Just Me? won the Best Picture gong at the Detroit Independent Film Festival last year and you can see why. It’s an easy-on-the-eye story saying it doesn’t matter who you are, or how old you are, life and love can be just round the corner if you are willing, and brave, enough to go out and find it.

Is It Just Me? is out now from TLA Releasing.


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