The Broken Hearts Club
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A close-knit group of gay friends share the emotional roller coster of life, relationships, the death of friends, new beginnings, jealousy, fatherhood and professional success. At various stages of life's disarray, these young men share humorous and tragic relationships and always have each other to rely on.
After viewing the gay ensemble film The Broken Hearts Club--the subtitle of which helpfully points out that it's "a romantic comedy"--you might feel as if you've been offered a discussion conundrum not unlike the kind that Mike Myers's Linda "Coffee Talk" Richman would put forward: "The Broken Hearts Club is neither romantic nor comedic. Discuss." What it is, rather, is a gay male version of Steel Magnolias, right down to the funeral scene and hospital visit. While decidedly less melodramatic than that Southern chick flick, it still aspires to a kind of big-group love-in feeling that's only vaguely comic. And romance? Well, there's some somewhere, when the characters aren't carping about how the only thing they're good at is being gay. They all wrestle with their Big Issues--should Patrick (Ben Weber) donate sperm so his sister can have a baby with her lesbian lover? Will cynical Dennis (Timothy Olyphant) finally admit he loves just-out-of-the-closet Kevin (Andrew Keegan)? How will love-'em-and-leave-'em Cole (Dean Cain) feel when he's rejected by the closeted movie star?--but to little effect, despite some snappy one-liners and occasional keen observances of gay culture. Writer-director Greg Berlanti's screenplay still feels about two or three drafts away from completion, and when faced with stalling action, he opts for a montage set to one of many Carpenters' songs (covers, not the actual hits themselves). Kudos go to the acidic Weber for infusing what could have been a whiny character with a dry, intelligent wit, and the surprisingly charming Cain, who makes Cole someone you can't really hate too much despite all his faults--it would be like hating a puppy. If only all the characters were half as appealing. --Mark Englehart
- Deleted scenes with director and producer's commentary
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PS: I must have watched this film at least 4 or 5 times. For some reason it never seems to be repetitious or boring at all. Maybe this is something we all want - to be a functioning and working member of a group of very accepting guys at both professional and personal levels. Amen!
Set in California, "Broken Hearts Club" spins the tales of a group of gay men who are comrades and cohorts in the daily drama of life. Managing to cover the spectrum of gay men, yet never pandering to the tiresome gay stereotypes that plague characters today, these groups of friends sincerely seem that, with all the emotionally tense undercurrents that come with such a group.
I truly enjoyed the film, and its many quiet moments of poignance, mostly centering around John Mahoney's character. He plays the emotional heart in the center of the film, a fountain of knowledge, a bastion of acceptance. When the characters drop their attitudes and talk from the heart, there is a honesty to this film not often found in the gay genre. I was particularly touched by one little speech where the character rambles on honestly about his feelings....
Sure, there is some usual stereotypical fodder: drug use, angery lesbians, clubbing, and a slight but fun nod at drag queens. What bothered me most is that it seems that most gay movies are either set in LA or NYC... which assumes that only gay life occurs there.
However, this film pleases, is cute, touching, with a dash of drama. Plus, with all the bonus stuff, it makes a good DVD.
This movie is a non-threatening movie which can be seen with straight friends, family and co-workers and you or they will not be offended. There aren't any token sex scenes or obligatory nude scenes. Everything is tastefully done. Please see this movie, you will be able to identify with at least one of the characters. A great ensemble cast.