Netflix’s latest festive romcom ticks all the cliche boxes but wraps it in a refreshing LGBQT twist. Directed by Michael Mayer, Single All the Way is a cheery romp that doesn’t overstay its welcome and is funny at times. Despite some unintentional awkward moments and a paper-thin plot, Single All the Way is a good time and a worthy addition to your Christmas holiday viewing queue.
Peter (Michael Urie) is excited to finally bring home a boyfriend during Christmas break and appease his well-intentioned but nosy parents. His perpetual single status, especially during the holidays, is finally coming to an end. Only one big problem. His new boyfriend has been lying to him and is actually in a heterosexual relationship with kids. Of course, this throws a wrench into Peter’s plans and, in a desperate attempt, enlists the help of his long-time roommate and best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to come home with him, pretending to be his boyfriend. Nick dubiously consents, and they soon find themselves leaving their Los Angeles home for snowy New Hampshire. This fake boyfriend plan doesn’t last very long as Peter’s mom Carol (Kathy Najimy) happily informs him that she has fixed him up on a blind date with her gym instructor. What happens next is conventionally predictable, but as you can imagine, the plan goes awry, and Peter and Nick start to see each other in a new light. The gym instructor, James, is played by Luke McFarlane, a wildly attractive man that nearly buckles Peter the moment he sees him.
For a while, the movie plays like a version of 2010’s She’s Out of My League, with Peter just clumsily trying to keep up with his much hotter counterpart. The film’s romcom structure is by-the-numbers, but its sense of normalization impressed me the most. There is no big deal made about being gay, nor is there even a hint that his parents were at first apprehensive about his choices; the movie treats it like any other cheesy romcom. This is what made Single All the Way so enjoyable to watch, albeit unrealistic in some situations. The story here is a relatable one, no matter your sexual orientation. I’ve felt the sting of Peter’s perpetual single status and the unwanted attention it seems to spread to family members.
It’s fun to watch the actors play off each other well. Peter’s dad Harold, played by the charming Barry Bostwick, is convinced that Peter’s soulmate is Nick, and his shoehorned comments about it made me laugh every time. In a way, Harold is the audience, trying his best to play matchmaker and tie this knot that has been long overdue. Jennifer Coolidge plays the boozy Aunt Sandy, who may or may not know about Peter’s situation and is more interested in her theatrical Christmas play. Her scenes are brief, but she makes the most of it. Single All the Way is good background viewing material, it never gets too serious, and the jokes are so sweet that it’s almost too sweet. Nearly every joke ends in a wry smile, almost like the actors know the script lacks any kind of edge or punch to it. This sweetness might be a little overbearing for some; some Disney channel original movies explore darker themes than this, but the film is well-intentioned enough, and the pacing helps keep things moving along.
At just one hour and thirty-nine minutes, Single All the Way is harmless cheerful fun that normalizes happiness and acceptance, regardless of your gender or sexual preference, something I hope to see more of in the next few years. One of the year’s best films, I Carry You With Me, is a stark far cry from this one, but the movie is a love story at its core. Here’s to normalizing gay love stories.
Single All The Way
At just one hour and thirty-nine minutes, Single All the Way is harmless cheerful fun that normalizes happiness and acceptance, regardless of your gender or sexual preference, something I hope to see more of in the next few years.