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Key Player: Hugo Weaving plays a realtor who makes himself at home in other people's homes in 'Bedrooms & Hallways.'

Best of Friends

Pals play musical beds in 'Bedrooms & Hallways,' an amusing comedy about nothing

By Richard von Busack

A CONSISTENTLY MODERATELY AMUSING comedy about two affluent London chums who share a spacious flat: the dithering hero Leo (Kevin McKidd), gay but unable to rustle up much in the way of a love interest; the happily promiscuous Darren (Tom Hollander), Jughead to his Archie. Angie, their pal (Julie Graham), is practically a housemate without portfolio hanging around the flat like a pet. Lured into a men's group, Leo becomes attracted to a heterosexual named Brendan (James Purefoy), but there's a catch. Not only is Brendan straight, he's still sort of involved with his ex-girlfriend Sally (Jennifer Ehle), who happens to be an old girlfriend of Leo's as well.

Sub-episodes galore pad out the effortless, harmless little film. Principal among these is a running gag about Darren's regular boyfriend Jeremy (Hugo Weaving, the scary multi-villain in The Matrix), a real estate agent who has a fetish for having sex in strangers' houses. But Simon Callow is also most amusing as a Jungian men's group leader who conducts "Wild Man Weekends" ("today we pass around ... the Honesty Stone!") As his intimidating, and equally Jungian, wife, Sybil, Harriet Walter does the best royal drawl since Miranda Richardson's. Obviously, I'm describing a film that's nothing but bits and pieces, but the Seinfeld/Friends-style tangle is likeable. Ehle's sweet, sad performance as the girl left out by all of these musical beds gives the film a center, almost; there will be bigger and better parts for this pretty actress. Bedrooms and Hallways is the first film released here by Rose Troche since her debut, Go Fish. This candy-colored, 35mm production has one element in common with her gritty, set-in-Chicago debut: Troche isn't interested in gay exceptionalism. In her first film as in this, she proposes that whether you're gay or straight, it's always the same messy tangle, and that the laws of desire are constantly under revision.

'Bedrooms & Hallways' (R; 96 min.), directed by Rose Troche, written by Robert Farrar, photographed by Ashley Rowe and starring Kevin McKidd, Hugo Weaving, Tom Hollander and Jennifer Ehle, opens Friday in San Jose at the Towne Theater.

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From the October 7-13, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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