Movie Review – Do You Take This Man
Anthony Rapp is having a pretty good year. Most know Rapp as a Broadway star who has had small roles in numerous Hollywood films, but this year he appeared in the TV series The Good Fight on CBS All Access. He’s also featured on the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery similarly on CBS All Access, but that’s not all. Rapp also squeezed in two feature films. In the spring, he had the psychological thriller Bwoy and now for the summer he has this more romantic comedy by writer-director Joshua Tunick.
It’s a film about two gay men about to get married. The whole film in fact takes place in the 24 hours leading up to their wedding day and the moment they’re supposed to exchange vows and tie the knot in front of family and friends. Tunick in his feature debut has to convince us in a narrative that plays out in one day why the two men love each other and should be together. At the same time, he also has to convincingly throw obstacles in their paths that could break them up immediately, as well as in the long term. Tunick successfully does both. It’s reminiscent of Ryan Gielen’s Turtle Hill, Brooklyn, but not as bold or risky in terms of dealing with politics or more dangerous topics.
Rapp stars as Daniel, a 40-year-old investor in Los Angeles who loves to cook. Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls and Awkward) co-stars as Christopher, a 30-year-old artist who mainly does paintings. Daniel is a neurotic ginger and Christopher is an adorable puppy, but both make a cute couple who has some good chemistry. How they met and what led to them getting to this point comes out in dialogue with friends and family.
Mackenzie Astin (pictured above on left) also co-stars as Jacob, the best friend of Daniel. Thomas Dekker (pictured above on right) plays Bradley, the best friend of Christopher. Both of them, along with others, drop in for the day on the night before the wedding to have a special dinner with those closest to Daniel and Christopher. The conversation between Daniel and Jacob reveals Daniel’s feelings for Christopher and then, later, at dinner, it’s cemented why the two were a match for each other.
Along the way to dinner, there are bumps in the road that threaten to overturn the whole car before the wedding. The first bump is the wedding gifts that Christopher’s friends decide to give him. The secrecy surrounding the gift is an issue. The ramifications for what that gift means have a ripple effect that shames both grooms and certainly worries Daniel.
That shame is as simple as having something from your past come back to haunt you. Tunick cleverly introduces it and brilliantly weaves it into the story. It leads to a lot of bumps that collide at dinner, bumps like trust, fidelity and even identity. All come into question and are handled not in a histrionic way but in a calm and quiet fashion.
Tunick is able to just sit his characters down and have them talk to each other warmly, smartly and compassionately with slight touches of humor. It makes the film so refreshing in addition to being an engaging piece of entertainment. In that, the performances from the two leads and the supporting cast are simply delightful. Each basically gets his or her own monologue.
Alona Tal (Hand of God and Veronica Mars) who plays Emma, a friend of Christopher, delivers her monologue that feels scary and accusatory at first but then becomes sweet and almost angelic. Sam Anderson (Lost and ER) who plays Steven, the father of Daniel, delivers his that is just heartbreaking on many levels. Finally, there’s Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer) who plays Rachael, the sister to Daniel, delivers not only her monologue but every moment with such charm, humor and beauty.
Not Rated but contains language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 33 mins.