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[whitespace] 'The Broken Hearts Club'
Join the Club: Billy Porter is one of a group of gay friends in 'The Broken Hearts Club,' opening at selected theaters valleywide.

For Example

There's little romance but lots of good examples in 'The Broken Hearts Club'

By Richard von Busack

AT THE WEST HOLLYWOOD RESTAURANT/BAR, The Jack of Broken Hearts, a group of gay men pushing 30 meet to yak, dish, gossip and otherwise sit around talking. And what they say is this: promiscuity is bad, settling down is good. ("Linen suit jackets are casual--fucking isn't casual.") Dean "Superman" Cain is the big name of the cast, playing Cole, a boyfriend thief. Cain has set the tongues of the nation's film press a-twitter about how the star of Lois and Clark should be kissing guys on screen. That's what comes of a short memory--don't they remember Christopher Reeve's guy/guy smooch in the film Deathtrap? (And if George Reeves' pistol had jammed, he probably would have wound up in a little theater production of The Boys in the Band . . . )

Written, dircted and produced by Greg Berlanti, co-executive producer of Dawson's Creek, this eminently forgettable ensemble comedy has deadly sitcom rhythms: characters who trade insults without any of them registering, and characters stay firmly what they seemed at first. There's one--and only one--ethnic (Billy Porter, the most amusing actor in the film) and there's one--and only one--character with a drug habit of any kind (Zach Braff.). Wait, another character smokes marijuana, without apparent effect, but gives it up for no reason except to mention that he's giving it up. Just say no!

In one shameless moment, the cast tries to justify this video-sized movie's existence by chatting about how there aren't any films with gay men that set a good example. Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who complained that nothing surpassed the annoyance of a good example? Notice that the pair of lesbians, essentially the only women in this movie, don't set a good example; they're pushy and arrogant.

Also starring: Timothy Olyphant as the director's surrogate--the photographer whose 28th birthday begins the yearlong cycle of the film; Jack (John Mahoney of Fraser), the old-timer who runs the Jack of Broken Hearts--he sets an especially good example--and Andrew Keegan of Party of Five as the newly out Kevin. The film is subtitled "A Romantic Comedy." Really? Where's the romance? Where's the comedy? Maybe The Broken Hearts Club is a good example, but it isn't a good movie.

The Broken Hearts Club (R; 94 min.) written and directed by Greg Berlanti, photographed by Paul Elliott and starring Timothy Olyphant, Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan and John Mahoney, opens Thursday at the Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz.

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From the October 18-25, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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