This desperately perky tale of bisexual romantic entanglements may be British, romancey and (supposedly) funny, but it's hardly "the next Four Weddings And A Funeral" that plaudit every new love-themed Britcom craves. It's barely even worthy of the label "the next This Year's Love". We're talking third-division Britcom here; a patchy little flick which enthusiastically sets up a few massively obvious targets and, embarrassingly, misses them all.
Take the scenes involving the New Age men's group, organised by a bushy bearded, mock-sincere Simon Callow. With the irritating sitar music, the "aren't New Men silly but sweet" gags and the horrendously clichéd Bonding In The Wilderness episode, you can't help but wonder where scripter Robert Farrar has been hiding for the past half-decade. Does he really think this material's fresh? You almost expect him to throw in a few Essex Girl jokes and references to Yuppies with filofaxes.
Then there's his grating, ropey characterisation, by which he boils down each of the principals to a bland stereotype: so you've got the boisterously camp, shriekingly loud Darren (Hollander) who, of course, wears loud shirts; the smouldering Irish heart-throb (Purefoy); and Leo himself, the quietly camp, insecure one who, of course, wears black polo-necks. Go Fish helmer Rose Troche struggles to make something decent out of this, but her efforts to liven up the proceedings merely result in annoyingly over-lively camera tracking as she tries to spice up the `action'.
That said, Bedrooms&Hallways isn't an unmitigated disaster; despite the restrictions of his character, Tom Hollander manages to exploit the script's few successful jabs at humour enough to raise a few mouth-edges, and Hugo Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert Weaving is sufficiently entertaining as Darren's randy estate agent boyfriend.
But the central message - that sexuality shouldn't get in the way of relationships - is just too badly handled and involves too many unconvincing plot tweaks. You have to ask whether Purefoy's straight man really would be so flattered by Leo's attentions that he'd jump right into bed with him. Bedrooms&Hallways tries to convince you so, but fails - without any hilarious consequences.
Bedrooms&Hallways, summed up in 32 words: "Hey, it's all right to be gay! And it's all right to be straight, too! And you can sleep with whoever you like, whether you're straight or gay! And isn't sex fun?" Well, duh.
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