Saturday, January 22, 2022

Nerds Gets Cheery: Make Yuletide Gay With ‘Single All the Way’

December is here, and the Christmas season is officially upon us! So, we here at Nerds & Beyond are spreading the cheer by sharing some of our favorite things to watch during the Christmas season. Check in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through Christmas to see what’s on our screens this time of year.

Netflix

There’s something about Christmas that just demands a corny, cliché-filled romcom. This year, Netflix is taking its turn (after Hulu’s Happiest Season last December) to serve Christmas treats for the LGBT folks. Single All the Way is exactly as you’d expect: sugary, store-bought, cookie-cutter tropes, but delightfully rainbow-colored nonetheless (and covered in no small amount of glitter).

The tropes in question? Perpetually unlucky in love Peter, played by Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), discovers that his boyfriend is actually married, right before Christmas. Not wanting to be single for the holidays with his family yet again, Peter ropes his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) into coming home with him—and also into embracing that classic con: the fake relationship. Their ruse doesn’t last all that long, however. It turns out that Peter’s festive-loving mom Carole (Kathy Najimy) has already set him up on a date with her spin instructor. Nick encourages Peter to go for it, and James (Luke Mcfarlane) turns out to be not only gorgeous but a decent guy. The problem? It turns out that Peter’s family kinda likes the idea of him being with Nick, actually. 

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Cue some familial meddling, friends to lovers, mutual pining with a little miscommunication, and “there was only one bed!” thrown in for good measure. Tropes galore. Merry Christmas, one and all.

Netflix

Oh, and of course, the glitter on top: Jennifer Coolidge. Always larger than life, leopard print, and stealing almost any scene she’s in, Coolidge plays Peter’s Tante Sandy. She delivers us a wild subplot centering around her unrealized nativity play ambitions, which leads to one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

When you click on a gay Netflix Christmas movie with a pun for a title, you know exactly what you’re getting into: a ton of unrealistic cliches; just enough angst; a cheesy ending; slightly cringey, on-the-nose humor; and a hefty dose of belief suspension. Single All the Way does exactly what you’d expect for this style of movie. But, it does manage to be quite charming in the process, delivering several genuinely funny moments and a slow build, “they didn’t know they were pining” sort of chemistry that is often underrepresented in the genre.

Urie and Chambers deliver solid performances that feel more real, imperfect, and lived-in than a lot of other textbook gay characterizations in this area, and they are carried by a stellar supporting cast including Jennifer Robertson (Schitt’s Creek) and Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Show).

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It’s refreshing to see a movie with queer protagonists that doesn’t use its characters’ sexualities for conflict or drama. While it’s ridiculous that this is still unusual in 2021, it’s pretty nice to watch an LGBT movie that isn’t fortified with trauma. And with Single All the Way, they not only avoided that but took it one step further; for this one, blessed Christmas moment, there’s a movie that playfully acknowledges it has gay people in it, without becoming solely about being gay. Now that is truly a Christmas miracle.

Written by Chad Hoge and directed by Michael Mayer, Single All the Way is now streaming on Netflix.

Don’t forget to check out our other Nerds Get Cheery articles for more seasonal screen selections!

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