(*homocinematically inclined)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reel Thoughts: There's an App for That

A big hit from the Desperado Film Festival, the funny romantic comedy eCupid (now on DVDfrom TLA Releasing) is about a gay couple in the doldrums who suffer the effects of a seemingly unstoppable online dating service. Marshall (handsome blond Houston Rhines) is an ad executive who is burned out and under-appreciated by his boss (All My Children’s John Callahan). He’s about to turn thirty and his home life with his gorgeous boyfriend Gabe (cute dark-haired Noah Schuffman) is strictly on auto-pilot when he discovers an app that will give him everything he wants but nothing that he needs.

After seven years, Marshall and Gabe aren’t really connecting emotionally or sexually, so Marshall gives in to the “Seven Year Itch” and downloads the app, called eCupid, whose Siri-like voice sounds remarkably like Morgan Fairchild. Soon, Gabe, a struggling coffee house owner, is receiving “Dear John” texts via eCupid and as soon as he moves out in a huff, all kinds of hot (and not-so-hot) young men start showing up at Marshall’s door. “Dawson”, a “horny frat boy” hustler, appears and doesn’t want to take no for an answer, followed by a party planner and a pick-up who looks nothing like his online picture. “I see that you’re good with Photoshop,” Marshall later tells him. Then there is Keith, played by the gorgeous Matt Lewis, an intern at Marshall’s work who has a lot more than work on his mind.

Writer/director J.C. Calciano keeps the action and comedy moving, while exploring questions of gay fidelity and relationships that will strike a chord with many people. The internet has made meeting people much easier while oftentimes leaving people feeling lonelier than ever. Calciano is smart enough to fill his film with lots of eye candy while he delivers his message about remembering what is important in your life. Rhines, Schuffman and Lewis make a triangle few men would resist joining, and despite the low budget, all of the actors give funny, polished performances.

There is a thread of magic running through the film as well, as eCupid manages to sabotage Marshall’s life at every turn. By the time he meets a diner waitress who actually is Morgan Fairchild, you’ll believe that true love can conquer all... if you ignore all the online noise and distractions that get in the way.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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