MOVIE REVIEW: MQFF Ideal Home
Ideal Home, written and directed by Andrew Fleming, is a comedic look at family life. It tells the story of two gay men, Erasmus and Paul (played by Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd respectively), thrown unexpectedly into the caring for Bill, Erasmus’ grandchild. Erasmus has been estranged from his son, Beau (Jake McDorman), Bill’s unstable father, for years. A custody battle ensues.
Fleming’s latest feature marks the third movie in which Rudd and Coogan have acted alongside each over. Their previous works include Night At The Museum and Our Idiot Brother. The chemistry between these two well-established comedy actors is enthralling, providing many laughs throughout the film.
‘The chemistry between these two well-established comedy actors is enthralling, providing many laughs throughout the film’
Coogan’s wide acting experience (from satirical roles like Alan Partridge, to more profound roles in features such as Philomena) definitely made it easy to believe him as the superficial, yet charming Erasmus. Rudd, known for a string of well received comedies including Clueless, Anchorman, and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, was also perfectly qualified for the role. This said, Rudd seemed a little inhibited during some of Ideal Home’s more emotionally demanding scenes. It wasn’t always clear if this was part of his character’s more reserved personality, or a lack of acting versatility.
Jack Gore gives a stand out performance as Bill. Gore exudes the perfect amount of cheek and affable innocence. His portrayal of young Bill leaves the audience invested in this troubled boys future.
Throughout the film, Erasmus and Paul grow as characters as they face the challenges of parenthood and their long-term relationship. These obstacles highlight their humanity, that isn’t so obvious in the film’s party fuelled opening scenes. One particularly humorous instance of the two men’s good nature occurs when they are called into to see Bill’s teacher, after the young boy gave a provocative speech in school. Learning of Bill’s well-intended address – warning his class of what never to say to a gay man – sees Paul and Erasmus laughing their hearts out; a hilarious scene that poked fun at political correctness. The film’s comedic flair is delivered through its incredibly sharp dialogue, with Erasmus and Paul’s constant bickering the centrepiece.
Although Andrew Fleming is gay, the film’s place in the catalogue of queer cinema is put into question. While it’s a comedic triumph, is it a triumph for queer representation in the film industry? This is a film whose lead actors are straight men. While Rudd and Coogan did a decent job of portraying their characters, they do border on stereotypical illustrations particularly at the film’s beginning.
‘The film industry should be making way for more people of the LGBTQIA+ community creating’
Admittedly, this is a well-rounded film and can be seen as an entertaining comedy movie. However, films like Ideal Home should not be prioritised, certainly not in terms of queer cinema. The film industry should be making way for more people of the LGBTQIA+ community; creating and performing in authentic content. Indeed, this ought to be exciting content that doesn’t just hit home with the majority, but with a wide range of people.
Ideal Home will be screening as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) on Friday March 16th at 8:30pm at ACMI Cinema 2, and on Sunday March 18th at 4:45pm at Cinema Nova