A slick and reasonably bright diversion, “I Think I Do” puts a gayer spin on ideas from several recent “wedding” comedies. Aiming for screwball sophistication, it sometimes lapses into sitcom contrivance instead, with attendant excess cuteness. But aud-pleasing item should attract gay urbanites, and its very commercial nature just might tempt modest crossover biz as well.
Most obvious model is “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” as pic crosscuts between shifting relationships within a group of longtime friends in progressive, time-specific setpieces. There’s just one ceremony here, but each connected event (from rehearsal dinner to the wedding night’s Morning After) gets its own distinct episode.
First however, there’s a flashback to college days, when the major characters (looking pretty mature for dorm life) established their lasting ties. A succession of holiday glimpses reveal Bob’s (Alexis Arquette) developing love for seemingly hetero roommate Brendan (Christian Maelen), which culminate in an awkward, rather public rejection.
Five years later, the mid-20s protags are reunited for the D.C. nuptials of former classmate Carol (Lauren Velez). Bob is now a TV soap opera writer shacked up with series star Sterling (Tuc Watkins), a somewhat vacuous older hunk. Latter gets caught up in all the vow-taking talk, pressing the idea of more formal commitment on Bob — who is ambivalent, especially once he sets eyes on a newly flirtatious, ardent Brendan.
As if matters weren’t complicated enough, Brendan has arrived with his possessive, pushily marriage-minded g.f. Sarah (Marianne Hagan). Stoner Eric (Guillermo Diaz) gets in too deep with smitten Beth (Maddie Corman). Even this moment’s official “happy couple” are experiencing doubts — Carol, in particular, isn’t so sure that bland nice-guy Matt (Jamie Harrold) is the right groom after all. But it’s too late to turn back.
Over the weekend’s course, anxiety, alcohol and close-quartered hotel sleeping arrangements play havoc with these alliances. When Bob and Brendan succumb to the inevitable, former is left with a giant hickey he tries to hide (under a neck brace, claiming injury). Its discovery has the expected chain-reaction consequences.
The precise moment of hickey-exposure — which causes two observers to faint simultaneously — typifies writer-director Brian Sloan’s occasional tendency to push a funny moment too far toward broad yuks. Still, the overall effect is appealing and sympathetic, with happy endings ensured for nearly all figures (and good-natured resignation for the few romantic “losers”).
Pic takes a cue from the successful pop-schlock revivals “Beautiful Thing” (re: Mama Cass), “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and “Muriel’s Wedding” (both Abba) occasioned by soundtracking numerous Partridge Family songs, with special emphasis on “I Think I Love You” (heard in both original and multiple cover-artist forms). This device is amusing enough, though music recording sounded oddly muted at San Francisco Gay Fest preem.
Performers are sweet and capable if a bit glam — everyone is so scrubbed they look like escapees from the Aaron Spelling stable. Pacing is smart, other tech credits pro; production design and lensing capture an upscale East Coast milieu.