Netflix’s first gay Christmas rom-com is a cute and safe tale of two best friends falling in love amid a family hungry for love.
Netflix’s first gay Christmas movie, Single All the Way, is a family-friendly affair that will make you laugh and want a little more holiday sparks.
This rom-com stars Michael Urie as Peter, a very single gay man who can’t keep a relationship to save his life and his best friend Nick, played by Philemon Chambers, who comes home with him to help keep his relationship-obsessed family off his back.
However, when Peter gets home, his plan is ruined by his mother, played by legend and icon Kathy Najimy, who sets him up on a blind date with a super-hot trainer named James, played by Hallmark movie staple Luke MacFarlane. The rest of the family then gets involved with his love life and are split over whether he should date his best friend or the new guy.
It becomes pretty clear early in this film that there won’t be any shocking twists or gut-punching moments. Its safety is a blessing and a curse, as its weaker plot doesn’t deliver those heart-pounding moments that a good rom-com can have or break away from its Christmas trope trappings.
While the film and its actors deliver laughs, there isn’t really anything out of the box, which seems by design. If you’re expecting a gripping drama, then you’re out of luck, as this rom-com opts for some safe fun that the whole family can enjoy and put on in the coming years while decorating.
It isn’t a terrible movie, but it isn’t a groundbreaking one either, which is for you to decide whether you like it. However, in the grand scope of queer holiday films, this one delivers a pleasant holiday experience.
What ends up making this film shine are its supporting roles.
Najimy as a love-obsessed meddling mom who demands that everyone call her “Christmas Carol” during the month of December is a scene stealer and one of the principal attractions for this movie. The other family members also deliver great comedy when they need to, including sister Lisa, played by Schitt’s Creek icon Jennifer Robertson, and her daughters, played by Madison Brydges and Alexandra Beaton, who give their all to meddling.
Unfortunately, the chemistry between the two leads is sparse, with the two only seeming like they are going to end up together because that’s how these movies play out. By the time the sparks fly between the two, the movie is already almost over. Peter’s secondary plot with the hot blind date also seems undercooked and forced.
However, there is one actor who steals the entire movie…
In the promo for the film, Jennifer Coolidge ponders why the gays are obsessed with her and, to answer that question, just watch the movie. Not only does she steal every scene she’s in, but she is good enough to be one of the sole reasons you should watch this movie.
Coolidge’s Aunt Sandy not only enters singing the “Whitney Houston version” of “Joy to the World” in all animal print, but immediately steals Christmas ornaments off the tree to use as earrings.
That is only the beginning.
Aunt Sandy soon becomes a monstrous stage director of her yearly Christmas pageant, in which she not only threatens young kids, but performs all the parts when the actors aren’t off book.
Coolidge gives her signature breathy deadpan delivery on a script that frankly underutilized her way too much, as she is by-far one of the best pieces of this film. If you are a fan of hers and on the fence about whether to watch this film, then do it for her (and the gays).
While more conservative and non-queer films dominate the Christmas film genre, Single All the Way gives the holiday formula a more queer-friendly update. Thankfully, nothing about this film has anything to do with homophobic family members or a bad coming-out experience.
Instead, Peter’s very straight family does their best to accept and learn about his queerness. His mother is intrusive while also accepting and open to learning, as clear by one of her latest reads, How to Love Your LGBTTT Child.
It’s nice to see a film that doesn’t act like an adult gay man looking for love is gross or that his family “still needs more time to adjust.” And while this movie won’t break away as an all-time classic, it earns its holiday romance and cheer, if just barely.
This movie won’t blow you away, but it will make you smile.
While it has some shortcomings, it tries its best to deliver on some holiday cheer and festive love, which it does just like many of the Christmas movies that have come before it. Let’s be honest: The gays don’t have many cheery and cheesy Christmas films, which Single All the Way seems to understand.
The joys of this movie come from the cliches and tropes of a genre done a thousand times and done again with some queer characters. Hopefully, this movie continues the trend of more queer holiday movies in all shapes and forms.
If you want something warm and cozy to put on this year or in the years to come while decorating or seeing family, Single All the Way will give just the right amount of Christmas joy.