Three To Tango review

Poor Matthew Perry and Neve Campbell. You can just see the ambition in their big, needy eyes: "You know me as a character in a hugely popular TV series/franchise but - look! - I'm also a grown-up movie star!" Yet within minutes of this unwieldy rom-com, you know it is not to be, even though they deploy every weapon in their well-kept armouries of charm. Campbell's pout works overtime, while as Chandler (sorry, Oscar Novak), Chandler (sorry, Matthew Perry) gamely pretends he's playing a different character but soon surrenders to the inevitable until you begin to wonder where Joey is.

The problem lies with Rodney Vaccaro and Aline Borsh McKenna's script. If a relationship in a rom-com isn't convincing it should at least be funny. The dynamic here is patently absurd without the big yuks to compensate. Oscar is presumably meant to be charmingly geeky, but comes over as a dunderheaded goon, while Amy, allegedly a sexy free spirit, is frankly a bit of a tart. What do they see in one another? And how can Amy not see that the supposedly gay Oscar wants to get into her pants?

Helmer Damon Santostefano goes all-out to skate over the plot-holes and bully you into laughing with a grating big band soundtrack and comedy homosexuals. He might have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for the script's hamfisted message that a straight man forced to pretend he's gay knows what it's like to be in the closet. This is obviously cobblers, and the crass denouement is badly fudged.

The odd sporadic laughs comes from McDermott's loathsome array of nervous tics, a neat sub-plot involving a legendarily well-hung footballer and Oscar's flabbergasted reaction to being outed when he was never even in, but they're really not enough. Paging Matt and Neve: your day-jobs are calling.

The good news: it's not as bad as its title. The bad news: this attempt at a hip farce with a serious message has neither the brains nor the jokes to pull it off. Cute as the two leads are, they can't make it sizzle.

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