Bedrooms and Hallways [1998]

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Leo (Kevin McKidd) is an endearing pup of a blue-eyed lad looking for old-fashioned romance with a happily ever after. Convinced to join a friend's drum-thumping New Men's Group ("Let these strong loving men heal you!" begs leader Simon Callow, who all but steals the film as a man in touch with his inner guru), Leo confesses an attraction to another member of the circle in the spirit of sharing. He's the only gay man in the group but his confession starts a cascade of sexual reassessment, all encouraged by Callow's hilarious new age Iron John. Meanwhile Leo's gadfly of a roommate is having sex in other people's bedrooms all over town with his new real estate agent lover (a sly, haughtily confident Hugo Weaving) and Leo reconnects with his childhood girlfriend Sally (Jennifer Ehle), who brightens the film with her sunny smile and wounded yet spirited tenderness. Rose Troche, whose guerrilla American indie Go Fish transformed a lesbian love story into a classic romantic comedy, here straddles screwball farce and sophisticated sitcom with a clumsy style that skews more toward the latter, but she invests it with genuine affection. As the funny but flippant comedy winds up to almost painfully trite pairings between the ricocheting couples-to-be, Troche's loving direction allows everyone their dignity and their charm, even through the most contrived and kooky complications. --Sean Axmaker

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