Is it progress to say that homosexual rom-coms could be as foolish and silly as straight ones? That’s the dilemma one encounters when watching My Pretend Boyfriend, a superficial entry into the world of romantic comedy that has no enterprise being as pleasing as it’s. The skinny materials, stretched even thinner by an overabundance of jarring needle drops and conspicuous product placement, is saved by its trio of lead actors … however solely simply barely.
The movie is the newest launch from Buzzfeed Studios, and it feels precisely like a type of popular culture lists that web site churns out each 10 minutes: Quick, peppy, and disposable, leaving you with a sense of no data gained and a while consumed, albeit pleasurably. It appears designed for viewers with nothing higher to do, which is the very best reward one may give a movie like this.
My Pretend Boyfriend‘s setup is goofy however promising: After making an attempt unsuccessfully to maneuver on from his useless cleaning soap opera actor boyfriend, Andrew (Keiynan Lonsdale) enlists assistance from his finest pal, Jake (Dylan Sprouse), and Jake’s girlfriend, Kelly (Sarah Hyland), to disentangle himself from his emotionally abusive ex, Nico. After witnessing Andrew’s botched makes an attempt at courting, Jake comes up with an concept: Why not create a pretend on-line boyfriend to make Nico jealous and thus unwilling to meddle in his ex’s life to spice up his ego? Armed with an excessive amount of time and graphic design abilities, Jake conjures up Cristiano, an impossibly handsome on-line boyfriend who runs with the bulls in Pamplona, skydives for enjoyable, and fulfills each want Andrew wishes.
It’s no spoiler to state that the scheme works .. .for awhile. Issues ensue when Andrew meets a pretty chef, Rafi, and begins to fall in love for actual, whereas Jake develops an unhealthy obsession with Cristiano, who symbolizes all the things he needs he may very well be and isn’t. Cristiano’s rising worldwide reputation, mixed with Nico’s mounting suspicion that his ex’s new lover is simply too good to be true, all come to a head in a 3rd act that’s each predictable and exhausting to endure. The requisite coda tying up all of the unfastened ends does its finest to get issues again on monitor, and for probably the most half, it really works.
A key ingredient to the movie’s allure is the lead actors, who elevate the fabric that would have been rendered unwatchable by much less charismatic performers. As Andrew, Lonsdale possesses a vulnerability and honesty uncommon in romantic comedy leads, homosexual or straight. You’re invested in his feelings, even when they’re being manipulated by a plot that, at instances, strains creditability. Sprouse’s Jake might’ve been a slacker bro like Seth Rogen in Knocked Up or Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, however as an alternative he’s nearly as fragile as Andrew. Jake’s infatuation with Cristiano isn’t mined for simply comedy; there’s actual pathos there, and it’s to the movie’s credit score that it offers Sprouse sufficient area to point out it.
As Jake’s girlfriend, Hyland exhibits the crack comedian timing she developed within the later seasons of Fashionable Household. Along with her kewpie doll face and saucer eyes, she has the appear and feel of a Nineteen Thirties screwball comedienne, and he or she does as a lot as she will along with her considerably restricted position. All three actors have a laid-back, lived-in vibe that sells their characters’ intimate, good-natured friendship. So long as a number of of them are onscreen, the movie hums alongside properly.
Actors can solely accomplish that a lot although, and it’s in different areas, particularly the uneven course and paper-thin script, the place My Pretend Boyfriend is a drag. The director, Rose Troche, confirmed a knack for contemporary screwball comedy with the farce Bedrooms & Hallways twenty years in the past, and that peeks by in some sequences in My Pretend Boyfriend, notably within the creation of Cristiano within the first act. But there are different instances, particularly within the drawn-out climax that includes a preposterously staged funeral, the place the course feels flat and uninspired and the shopworn script exhibits all of its clichés.
It additionally doesn’t assist that the movie asks the viewers to imagine it’s set in New York Metropolis when its clearly not. With its spacious residences and practically empty eating places, My Pretend Boyfriend‘s Large Apple is unconvincing, and whereas that will appear to be a minor quibble, it does break the fragile spell the movie weaves (it was shot in Ontario).
Stars are stars for a purpose, and a few have enchantment simply by sheer magnetism alone. Lonsdale, Sprouse, and Hyland make this movie watchable, and promote its absurd premise. In a time when romantic comedies are struggling to outlive, and LGBT ones are nonetheless uncommon to return by, My Pretend Boyfriend is satisfactory leisure graded on a curve. Simply don’t focus an excessive amount of on its many flaws and you need to be good.
My Fake Boyfriend is presently streaming on Prime Video. For extra new films and exhibits in June on that streaming service, take a look at what’s new on Prime Video.