I Think I Do

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.

With:
Bob ..... Alexis Arquette Brendan ..... Christian Maelen Beth ..... Maddie Corman Eric ..... Guillermo Diaz Carol ..... Lauren Velez Matt ..... Jamie Harrold Sarah ..... Marianne Hagan Sterling ..... Tuc Watkins

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.

I Think I Do

Production: A Danger Filmworks and House of Pain production in association with Robert Miller. Produced by Lane Janger. Executive producers, Jon Gerrans, Marcus Hu, Robert Miller, Daryl Roth. Directed, written by Brian Sloan.

Crew: Camera (color), Milton Kam; editor, Francois Keraudren; music supervisor, Gerry Gershman; production design, Debbie Devilla; costumes, Kevin Donaldson, Victoria Farell; sound, Robert Taz Larrea; line producer, Scott Hornbacher; casting, Stephanie Corsalini. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 20, 1997. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: Bob ..... Alexis Arquette Brendan ..... Christian Maelen Beth ..... Maddie Corman Eric ..... Guillermo Diaz Carol ..... Lauren Velez Matt ..... Jamie Harrold Sarah ..... Marianne Hagan Sterling ..... Tuc Watkins

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