×

Film Review: ‘Married and Counting’

This novel documentary on gay marriage sometimes seems more a glorified wedding(s) video than a penetrating look at a divisive issue.

With:
Pat Dwyer, Stephen Mosher. Narrator: George Takei.

The subject of “Married and Counting” decide to celebrate their 25th anniversary by getting hitched in every state where gay marriage is legal. That road-trip aspect lends novelty to this latest documentary about a topic that has been (and will be) addressed by many others, though its narrow character focus makes the effort sometimes seem more a glorified wedding(s) video than a particularly penetrating look at a divisive issue. After a year on the fest circuit, Allan Piper’s feature opens June 14 on one Beverly Hills screen, though it will find its primary niche audience in home formats and possible broadcast sales.

Manhattanites Stephen Mosher and Pat Dwyer have been together since they met as college students in the mid-’80s. Mosher is a photographer and Dwyer an actor, though we don’t learn anything about their professional lives — or much else, really, beyond the fact that they love each other. With their state of residence not yet an option, and the Defense of Marriage Act excluding same-sex couples from federal recognition (with significant legal and financial consequences), they decide to get “the maximum protection we can” by marrying in those few states where (in late 2010/early 2011) it’s possible. George Takei’s narration details the legal struggles for and against gay marriage in each state they visit.

Though their first trip (to acquire licenses in nearby Vermont and New Hampshire) gets off to a bad start with some bickering, Mosher and Dwyer are affable enough company. They cry during their vows at each of what winds up being six weddings, each one themed — New Age, literary, Jewish and so forth, with one performed at an ice-skating rink.

Popular on Variety

All this is pleasant, and well crafted by director-editor Piper (making his first feature since 1997 indie comedy “Starving Artists”). But there’s not a whole lot of dramatic punch to what seems as much a camera-friendly stunt as a personal/political statement. The promise of conflict is raised when the two travel to Texas to see family members who are variably accepting of their sexual orientation, but that fizzles when both Dwyer’s brother and Mosher’s born-again father prove adept at avoiding the desired heart-to-heart conversations.

Result is diverting enough but not as forceful or insightful as some prior documentaries on the same subject. Packaging is solid, though the indie pop tunes are a tad bland. Title onscreen was “Married … and Counting.”

Film Review: 'Married and Counting'

Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, June 7, 2013. Running time: 93 MIN.

Production: (Docu) A Speakeasy Prods. presentation. Produced by Allan Piper, Pat Dwyer, Stephen Mosher, Jennifer Houston.

Crew: Directed, edited by Allan Piper. Camera (color, HD), Piper; music, the Garden of Industry; sound, Jonathan Schenke.

With: Pat Dwyer, Stephen Mosher. Narrator: George Takei.

More Film

  • Nardjes A.

    ‘Invisible Life’s’ Karim Ainouz Drops Trailer for 'Nardjes A.’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    On Feb. 14 last year, Karim Aïnouz arrived in Algeria to trace via the story of his parents the Algerian Revolution which happened 60 years ago – its 1954-62 War of Independence from France. The uprising he very quickly started to shoot, however, was one happening right then, the Revolution of Smiles, whose first street [...]

  • Call of the Wild

    Harrison Ford in 'The Call of the Wild': Film Review

    Dogs, in their rambunctious domesticated way, can lead us overly civilized humans a step or two closer to the natural world. So it’s only fitting that the best dog movies have saluted that unruly canine spirit without a lot of artificial flavoring. Hollywood’s classic dog tales, like “Old Yeller” (1957) or “Lassie Come Home” (1943), [...]

  • Adventures of a Mathematician

    Indie Sales Unveils Trailer For 'Adventures of a Mathematician' (EXCLUSIVE)

    In the run up to Berlin’s European Film Market, Indie Sales has unveiled the trailer for Thor Klein’s “Adventures of a Mathematician” which had its world premiere in Palm Springs. The film tells the inspiring true story of a Polish-Jewish mathematician who got a fellowship at Harvard and went on to join the prestigious Manhattan [...]

  • Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE

    How Internet Backlash Helped 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Avoid Box Office Disaster

    It’s not a stretch to say Universal’s “Cats” and Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” had two of the most polarizing movie trailers in recent memory. Both caught fire online for all the wrong reasons after fans on social media torched the questionable CGI. “Cats,” an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, used a new science called [...]

  • Neumond Berlin Germany Restaurant

    Berlin Offers Diversity in Restaurant Scene

    Berlin Film Festival attendees have a chance to sample the diverse cuisine of a foodie city. Some of the top pics for a pre-film repast: Adana Grillhaus  A hugely popular Turkish restaurant in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, Adana Grillhaus now has a second location right around the corner. Popular on Variety Manteuffelstr. 86 +49 30 6127790 [...]

  • my salinger year

    Berlin Festival's New Selection Committee Takes Off

    Berlin’s new seven-member selection committee — four women and three men — comprises the core of new director Carlo Chatrian’s programming staff, which is led Canadian critic Mark Peranson. Peranson was the Locarno Film Festival’s chief of programming when Chatrian headed that Swiss festival. This year, Berlin is opening with “My Salinger Year,” starring Sigourney [...]

  • Mariette Rissenbeek Berlin Film Festival Executive

    Mariette Rissenbeek Faces Challenges as Berlin Festival Executive Director

    Making her debut as the new executive director of the Berlin Film Festival this year, Mariette Rissenbeek is facing some big challenges after taking over management duties at one of the world’s biggest public film fests. Rissenbeek and new artistic director Carlo Chatrian succeed Dieter Kosslick, who left an indelible mark on the fest after [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content