Customer Reviews: Mulligans (2008)
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on July 15, 2009
"Mulligans" is, for the most part, another one of those problematic, independent, gay-themed films that no major studio would touch. Overall, it's not a bad movie... in fact, when it's good, it's really good. You just have to get through the plodding first half to get to the good stuff.

Let's knock out first what doesn't work here. First off, Charlie David (Chase) and Derek Baynham (Tyler) are WAY too old for their parts. They're supposed to be college kids on summer break, but they both look about 28 years old (which, in fact, they were when this film was made.) This wouldn't be quite so bothersome if not for the fact that Tyler's parents, Nathan (Dan Payne) and Stacey (Thea Gill) look only about ten years older than him (which, in fact, they were when this film was made.)

Next: the big, dumb, loud party scene. `Nuff said.

The biggest problem I had with "Mulligans" was that writer/producer/actor David clearly had it in mind that his character, Chase, was supposed to be the focal point of the story. Considering the DVD box features his handsome mug 20 times larger than the family in the background, I'm easily led to believe that this was intended to be something of a vanity project. Unfortunately, it probably became clear to him halfway through filming that Chase is only the catalyst here, and that the real story - the interesting one - involves the family going through a less-than-orthodox breakdown.

Frankly, I didn't care about the character of Chase at all. David's one-note acting didn't help the cause. Neither did the fact that Chase is a painter... something that was done far more realistically and thoughtfully in "Shelter". Here, it's just a cliché device to show how sensitive Chase is. (Forget the fact that he embarks on an affair with his best friend's still-quite-married dad while mom is away visiting grandma.) Chase would have made for a great "bad guy" here; instead, David chooses to make him come across as something of a nice-boy and a victim. It's a weak choice that nearly unhinges the film.

It all looks like it's going to go into the drink when something miraculous happens: the second half of the film. Nathan is discovered and forced to come out, and suddenly the film takes on a third dimension.

A lot of the credit for this amazing upturn is directly attributable to Dan Payne's subtle, aching performance. He's given the impossible task of making us believe that a former high-school football player turned Porsche-driving stud-businessman-golfer could be hiding in the closet for years, and succeeds beautifully. Yeh, it's unlikely this could happen, but with Payne helming the ship through its most unbelievable passages, it strikes us all as very real.

I have to say that I didn't care for Thea Gill's performance as doting-wife-and-mom Stacey throughout the first half of the film. She tries too hard to come across as a suburban phony, making for a lot of very forced moments. But, once again, once Nathan's character is exposed, Gill drops the phony routine and shows us who Stacey really is: a bitter but realistic woman who is as tired of living a lie as Nathan is. The scene where she confronts her husband with the truth is so well done it's nearly a part of another film. What could have plunged into a pool of soap ends up being the crowning scene in the film, one that brims with emotion and a refreshing sense of honesty. Bravo.

Update 8/9/11: Perhaps someone noticed my review... the updated DVD box now features Dan Payne along side Charlie David (and in equal proportions.)
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on July 23, 2009
"Mulligans" an austere, tight look at gay relationships, will never be among those ground-breaking gay films, but after viewing it, the film has some merit. Granted, the acting is almost as bad as the premise, but for gay dads who find themselves coming out...well, there are plenty of them to take some notice. Written by Charlie David, the younger attraction, it shows a fair amount of promise but not much perspective. In the hands of a more seasoned writer, "Mulligans" could have had more promise.

The film is worth a look. But again, viewed from the father's point of view...the one who carries the weight of family and all the love and baggage that accompanies him... I give credit to actor Dan Payne, who plays the dad. He gives a plausible, thoughtful performance. "Mulligans" is a film that blends an awkward past with some semblance of hope for those trapped in marriages that cannot endure.
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on June 24, 2013
Charlie David wrote the screen play and played a starring role in this movie. He did a fabulous job on both counts. He plays Chase Rousseau who spends the summer with his best friend, Tyler Davidson (played by Derek Baynham) and his family at their summer home. All goes well and good until Chase tells Tyler that he's gay. Tyler accepts Chase's sexual orientation but he's not quite sure what it will mean to their friendship. Tyler tells his dad, Nathan Davidson (played by Dan Payne), about Chase's revelation. Nathan encourages him to continue being a good friend to Chase.

An opportunity arises for Tyler, his sister, Birdie Davidson (played by Grace Vukovic) and his mother, Stacey Davidson (played by Thea Gill), to visit his maternal grandmother for a few days. Tyler invites Chase to come along but he decides to stay back at the house. So does Nathan. Over a barbecue Chase and Nathan discuss how life and the choices made were very different when Nathan was Chase's age. He was married to Stacey when they were 18 years old. Although it's not expressly stated one gets the distinct impression that, if Nathan had it to do all over again, he would be a gay man. Although he regrets his honesty with Chase at that moment and tells Chase he should leave him alone, eventually they make love together.

Stacey, Tyler, and Birdie arrive home early. Had they arrived a hour or so earlier they would have found Nathan and Chase in the act. Even so, Stacey catches Nathan kiss Chase -- and the drama begins.

I thought the story line completely believable and well-acted by all. It has a very satisfactory ending. I've watched this movie several times and haven't tired of it. I think it's an excellent gay-themed movie to add to one's lgbtq film collection.
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on February 18, 2009
We saw Mulligans at the film festival here in Rochester and were so impressed with the relevance of the story. So many people are coming out later in life - after marriage, children and career and are trying to find a way to navigate the world as a new person.

The acting is wonderful, it's a story that needs to be told and it's beautiful. The music was really great too, would love to get a soundtrack.

Definitely recommend Mulligans - a 'gay film' for everyone. An important film for straight people to see.
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on May 23, 2013
The acting is very good. The plot believable. The situation painfully relevant. And the resolution is what one would expect to happen on a relatively positive note. The father is like mine. His secret is like mine. His son's friend evokes the painful truth he has been hiding from everyone, especially himself. Being in the present moment is the answer, "be here now" honestly and as intimately as possible. That's one lesson our children can teach us. And grateful I am, that my sons helped me out.
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on February 26, 2015
Such a great movie! Found this wonderful little film on Netflix and just loved it. I have many friends who, later in life, start recognizing their true feelings and make the difficult decisions that have to be made to begin living their lives. I thought it was very well done and the actors all did an amazing job! Definitely a must-have for your movie collection.
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on February 1, 2009
This poignant movie starts out simple enough. The eldest son,Tyler, brings his best friend,Chase, along to spend summer vacation with his family. Chase and Tyler's father,Nathan, bond while the rest of the family is off to Tylers grandmother's house. First,there was slight sexual tension in the air,and it develops into an affair that both get carried away in. The results change the dynamic between the two best friends and between the family.
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on April 26, 2014
Having seen the talented Charlie David as a primary character in the guilty pleasure gay-themed supernatural soap drama 'Dante's Cove', and within other independent films, such as 'A Four Letter Word' and 'Kiss the Bride', amongst others, I was thrilled to see that he had turned his hand to writing and producing regarding his newest venture called 'Mulligans'. Charlie wrote the screenplay for this feature film, which centres around the theme of second chances using the golf-analogy of a mulligan, with interconnecting themes of family dynamics, brotherly friendship and the suppression of sexual orientation.
The film stars Charlie David as Chase and Derek James as Tyler Davidson, who are best friends spending the summer together at Tyler's parents' lakeside home. Whilst there, Chase decides to come out as gay to his best friend, and the Davidson family are thrust into a situation wherein they are forced to confront long-suppressed feelings of guilt and complacency. Tyler's mother, Stacie, (portrayed by the brilliant Thea Gill of 'Queer as Folk' fame) is determined to be the perfect housewife and mother to both Tyler and youngest daughter Birdie, played by newcomer Grace Vukovic, who delivers her role splendidly with innocent questioning of the world around her. Stacie's husband and Tyler's father, Nathan (played by Dan Payne) seems to be more interested in his golfing hobby of late which is an annoyance to his wife, who suspects that that their marriage might be suffering due to a lack of communication. Events unfold between Nathan and Chase, with Nathan ultimately admitting hidden feelings that he has suppressed throughout his marriage.
The DVD, released in 2009 and distributed by Wolfe Video/Border2Border Entertainment, is a simple affair, with 2.0 Dolby Digital sound and a widescreen frame format. The film was recorded in HD (as stated within the audio commentary), so the quality of the picture on the standard DVD release is fairly clean and bright throughout the feature. Regarding special features, there is an option to view the film with an audio commentary featuring the two main actors Charlie David and Derek James, alongside director Chip Hale, which serves as a decent look into Charlie's writing/acting motivation and the overall production process. This commentary is also available whilst watching the deleted scenes, which aid in linking specific scenes and seeing additional character progression, especially regarding Jarod, Chase's friend and confidant who is portrayed as straight in the feature, but was originally intended to be gay (which is also prevalent in the novelisation of the film - also written by Charlie David). There is also the option to view the film with subtitles (closed captions) and a small selection of interviews with the cast and crew, alongside a campaign advertisement for ''
'Mulligans' is a film which can seem somewhat predictable from the outset, but inevitably explores important themes that have been untouched in recent years, such as how the expectations of the world twenty or so years ago has affected those who have found themselves stuck in situations which seem out of their control. Within this film, Chase becomes the catalyst to give Nathan back that control in order to do what is right for both himself and for his family, with unfortunate mistakes made on both sides. The outcome is the aftermath of those consequences, but is somewhat comforting in its own right. However, it can sometimes feel as if the characters are being glossed over too quickly, and it is hard to get an exact focus on the overall picture, with far too many questions being left unanswered.
Essentially, 'Mulligans' is a quaint film with good intentions of exploring complicated issues within a family unit, adding a gay-themed element that has probably affected quite a lot of people in similar situations. However, it can sometimes feel as if the focus is shifting a little too erratically between characters and plot elements for the viewer to grasp full believability and sentiment towards the people involved. That is not to say that I would not recommend this film though, as fans of Charlie David will no doubt enjoy his first outing as script writer of what is, essentially, a rather moving and enjoyable story about life choices, relationships and, above all else, second chances.
As an accompaniment to this DVD release, I would most definitely recommend looking at the novelisation of the film, which is also written by Charlie David as his first outing as novelist/author, providing a much more intimate glimpse into the lives and inner turmoil of the main characters, whilst exploring certain story elements and plot devices that didn't have such prevalence within the main production. Ultimately, I found that reading the book gave me a deeper appreciation of the movie; providing an empathetic link that is maybe not so easy to grasp by simply watching the feature production alone.
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on July 26, 2013
The movie was overall a really good story, it was tedious in spots, dis-jointed in others, but the issues addressed in the movie were relevant and plausible in today's society. This movie is well worth adding to your collection. I am very selective concerning gay themed movies, so if this one makes the cut, it's a pretty good choice.
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on November 25, 2012
I thought it was well written and would like to see it again. Lots of drama and some suspence. The emotional twist was a little weak, but it worked. It causes me to wonder how many gay men, for fear, ended up in heterosexual relationships and fathered children, only to face up to their sexuality later in life. This film looks at what might happen with the betrayal and emotional damage that happens when the truth is revealed. It can be devastating for all involved. The cat is out of the bag. One can never go back in the closet.
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